GLASGOW JAZZ FESTIVAL PREVIEW
GUITAR lEGEND HEART BEAT
John McLaughlin: plugged in
John McLaughlin has always been a musician with a restless curiosity and an omnivorously eclectic musical appetite. whether on acoustic or electric guitar. and in forms ranging from jazz and jazz-rock (notably in his Mahavishnu Orchestra) to the inﬂuential lndo-jazz fusion of Shakti or classical guitar concertos.
It came as no real surprise. then. when McLaughlin broke up his great trio featuring percussionist Trilok Gurtu. and re-emerged in another new guise in his trio The Free Spirits, with Joey DeFrancesco on Hammond organ and the mighty Dennis Chambers on drums.
The band will make their Scottish debut at the festival. while last year’s Tokyo Li ve ( I994) is followed by their first studio set. After The Rain. an excellent Coltrane homage with Elvin Jones taking over the sticks for the occasion. The musical textures are less dense than the instrumentation might suggest. but the playing is every bit as virtuoso and inventive as expected.
Between these two albums. McLaughlin slipped in a six-guitar tribute to Bill Evans. Time Remembered. the fulfilment of a long held aim to record an acoustic setting of Evans’s music. and further evidence of his creative versatility.
‘1 am interested in all kinds of music, but it's not simply a question of choice. I am obliged to follow the dictates of the music which I feel. I believe that music goes from the intellectual level to what i think of as the real level, where the communication is from heart to heart.‘ (Joe Alexander)
McEwan '3 01d F ruitmarket, Fri 7. 10.30pm.
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18 The List 30 Jun-l3 Jul 1995
Glasgow Jazz Festival audiences had something of a taster for Paul Motian’s Broadway Music when his trio played at the festival a couple of years back. That trio, with Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone and guitarist Bill Frisell, provides the basis of the Broadway Music quintet, augmented by bassist Marc Johnson (standing in for Charlie lladen - some substitute) and the maybe more surprising addition of alto saxman Lee Konitz, who joined the band for the Paul Malian On Broadway Vol 3 album. ‘Yeah, the first two were with the quartet, then we added Lee for the third. I’ve known lee for many years - we played together with Lennie ¥ Tristano back in the 50s. It worked out 2 real well, and I’m very happy about it. I love Lee and the way he plays, and he just fitted right in - him and Lovano sound real great together.’ Motlan has played the standard ; repertoire in all kinds of bands ; throughout his career, and the initial f stimulus for this project grew out of . his admiration for the great writers of E that period, men like George Gershwin, I Cole Porter or Jerome Kern. It is music
lovano, Motian and Frisell: Broadway melodies
that is close to the drummer’s heart, but the band attempt to bring their own specific stamp to it.
‘With this quintet there are a lot of bands within the group - we play pieces where everyone is involved, while others might be a trio or a duet, so it moves around a bit. We do the music with our own flavour, and we ; play them how we want. There are no strict rules - sometimes we play them in tempo, sometimes it’s very free, sometimes it’s straight ahead, and it’s ; all head arrangements, there is 9 nothing on paper. I want everybody to
If‘ there is any pattern in the musical 1
Whitehead. then it's surely the fact that there is no pattern. One minute she's
play what they want, and we like to do -
3 them in different ways all the time.’
3 (Kenny Mathieson)
E McEwan’s Old Fruitmarkef, Mon 3, 7.30pm.
The history of jazz is studded with great, idiosyncratic geniuses, but none qualifies more readily for that label than composer and bass player Charles Mingus. llis many-sided personality is reflected in the twists and turns of his music, and in the sheer magnitude of his creative aspirations.
Mingus always longed for a big band to play his music, and rarely managed to achieve that dream in his own lifetime. When he did, the results were rarely fully satisfactory, as in the notorious Town Hall Concert of 1962, where inadequate preparation time and incomprehension among his players turned the performance into a shambles at times, albeit also a glorious one in places.
Time has begun to do justice to his bigger-scale musical projects, however, and in one of those strange twists of fate, his fourth wife, Sue Mingus, has succeeded in realising the vision of a permanent, high-quality
Mingus Big Band: a vision realised i big band dedicated to his music. i The Mingus Big Band became a I reality in 1991, when she decided to i take a huge chance and put a group I into the newly opened Time Cafe in Manhattan. The baleful predictions i followed them through the door - it i won’t last, you can’t play Mingus ; without Mingus, it’s all too crazy to 1 make any sense, and big hands are too ! expensive anyway. | Four years down the line, the Mingus Big Band is still playing a Thursday ‘ night residency at the Time Cafe, has I toured Europe a couple of times, cut a couple of albums, can draw on a pool ! of around 150 of the best iazz musicians in flew York for its ‘ membership, and is dedicated to 7 bringing the wonderful music of i Mingus to a whole new generation of l listeners. Not bad going for the
l impossible dream. (Joe Alexander)
l McEwan’s Old Fruifmarket, Sun 9, l 7.30pm.
rock-reggae with her own band. the
timbres into the Penguin Cafe
Experiencing Annie ‘5
Annie Whitehead: bolshie trombone
wanderings of trombonist Annie
blasting out high—wattage jazz-funk-
Annie Whitbead Experience. the next she‘s blending her caustic trombone
1 ()rchestra's string-laden soundscapes. ; and the next again she's playing 3 1 delicate jazz standards with Carol
For Whitehead. diversity has been a i
1 keynote in getting her to where she is f
' the late Chris MacGregor or John
today. a richly respected practitioner of her various arts. with a solid jazz reputation as the base line. and an already legendary adaptability and versatility on top. She hails from ()ldbam. deep in brass band territory. where she asquired the crucial technique to master her intractible instrument.
Her interest in jazz came later, sparked by hearing a Mel Lewis-Thad Jones album. but she is not the kind of musician to be much troubled by concepts ofgenre purity. She has played all over the place. working with names like Elvis Costello. Fun Boy Three or lab Wobble as readily as with
in recent times. she has been able to concentrate more on her own projects. which include a duet with fellow Penguin Cafe habituee lan Maidman. and an occasional ten-piece band. but is most centrally focussed on the quintet she brings to Glasgow. in whichjazz and funk collide in spectacular fashion.
Whitehead has now moved well beyond the ‘gosh, isn't that clever fora girl‘ stage. and admits that she is now more ready to cool out and play quietly , than in her earlier days. where the pressure of gender expectations goaded her into producing what she describes as ‘a very brash. loud tone just so that l wouldn't be accused of being a wimpy, feminine trombone player. but what I am really after when I play is self- expression. and it's still a big. bolshie trombone way that l have of doing it.‘ (Kenny Mathieson) ('in Cafe Bur: Fri 30. 10pm.