Taking the fast track
The days of the high-profile sax star seemed long over until a Dutch teenager found herself in demand by the likes of Prince and Van Morrison. Kenny Mathieson finds Candy Dulfer still on an upward curve.
Alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer believes she is poised at a fresh stage of her career. As her new album proclaims, she is a big girl now. and has grown tired of playing the role of the glamorous kid with the horn which carried her through the meteoric first phase of her career.
‘l think it is just a natural progression.‘ says the Dutch saxophonist. ‘I'm not this young girl who plays the sax anymore. That was great fun while it happened. but that was five years ago. and there comes a time to move on. I think there is a new authority in my music. and l've never felt so much in control. or so sure of the direction I wanted to go in.‘
To the outside observer at least. lack of direction has never seemed a problem for a girl who started playing saxophone at the age of six. and was performing professional gigs by night while still finishing her high school certiﬁcate by day. She picked up her love ofjazz from her father (also a musician. he is featured on tenor saxophone on the new album). but to describe her as a j; 7.7, player would be wide of the mark.
Her metier. as even a cursory listen to Big Girl or its predecessors. Suxualiry and .S'a.t'-u-(;n-(Iu. will confirm. is funk. Her ten-piece band is not called Funky Stuff for nothing. and her potent mixture of
Candy Dulfer: growing up funky
sax and sexuality is aimed firmly at the dance-groove market.
ller associations with the artist then still known as Prince ('a wry high energy experience. but really demanding'). Aretha l’ranklin and Van Morrison confirm those soul. funk and R 8; B leanings. and it comes as no surprise to learn that US jazz-funk master l)a\ id Sanborn is one of her principal influences.
‘l)avid was one of my heroes. and we had said for a while that we would do something together. We were looking fora single to finish off the album. and I got on the phone and asked him if he had anything. He not only came up with llitke Me When It's Over. but also came and played on the record. That was my biggest thrill in making this album. to find myself standing beside the guy i stole all my licks from!
‘l've been influenced by players like David and Maceo Parker. but also earlierjazz musicians like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. 1 like to take that and mix it up with other kinds of music that are more of my own time. and make a mixture ofjazz. and funk and pop and rap.‘
Dulfer has tnade some changes in personnel in her band since her last visit to Scotland, a responsibility which she accepts. even if it is ‘something I agonise about. and in truth it doesn't get any easier. but i believe it's vital to keep an edge and a freshness to the music.‘ ller guitarist and writing partner. Ulco lied. remains a strong presence in the music. as is the keyboard player. and her co-producer on the album. Thomas Bank.
Big (Iirl marks the latest phase of a spectacular
‘My biggest thrill in making this album was to find myself standing beside David Sanborn, the guy I stole all my licks from!’
career which saw her ensconced in Paisley Park working on Prince's Grill/iii Bridge project and touring with Van Morrison and the famous J.l3.‘s horn section at the tender age of twenty (she also played with Pink Floyd at Knebwoith. but nobody is perfect).
‘The whole thing really happened very quickly for me — we all know that saxophone players don‘t always make such a great living. and there i was making all these wonderful trips and playing with fantastic people right away. in fact. things moved so fast that it's hard to piece it together now. but i think I’ve come out of it all pretty well. and [‘11) ready to move on to a new stage. although I don‘t think people will find a big change in the music itself. it's more a matter of keeping it fresh and continuing to pmgress‘ ~ music should never be an environment in which you stop trying to learn and develop.‘
Candy Dulfer and Funky .S'ndfpluy u! The Plaza. (i/usgmv. ()Ii Wed 2‘) and The Queen 'S Hall in
I Edinburgh on Fri 1.
Giving it their 1 best shot
‘If you’re looking for trouble, then you’ve got it!’ is the opening line to Paragon Ensemble’s next concert, which goes under the title of Musicians Behaving Badly. The re’s a distinct feeling of unrest in this programme of works by two eminent Scottish composers, Gordon McPherson and Judith Weir. In Civil Disobedience an The Northern Front, McPherson explores the conflict
L between Orkney and the mainland,
while in Musicians Wrestle
: Everywhere, Judith Weir is writing about the street music of her own
It is, however, McPherson’s newest . i " 1' piece, Handguns:A Suite, which lends ' Dundee gunsmith David Mackenzie.
A substantial piece - over 30 minutes 2 long - Handguns: A Suite is in four ; movements, each inspired by a 3 different aspect of guns. ‘Their history is fascinating,’ says McPherson, ‘and ; the first movement is based on the
; most interest to this unusual evening. ; I’m looking at the design of guns in
‘l’m not a gun-lover and I’m not a member of a gun club or anything,’ ' says McPherson, ‘but this is sort of “handguns l have known and loved”. Other people might do music about paintings, people Of pIaces, but I |ook vein.’ After a fleeting scherzo — Baby
, at handguns as being very
dichotomy of guns being
i aesthetically beautiful and tactile. l They have to be to tempt someone to j hold them. I’m interested in the
i the 18th century, when mostly they misfired, which is why there was a ; good chance of not getting hit in a duel, so I use that idea in the music. It misfires, but in a stylised 18th century
g Browning 1904 - the finale is a Wild
5 West gunfight dedicated to McPherson’s father in nostalgic
, memory of Saturday afternoons in
i front of the TV. (Carol Main)
: simultaneously very, very beautiful but l MUSi0i305 “hailing Bad/Y is 3‘ Gun runners: the Paragon Ensemble ? absolutely lethal.’
1 Stevenson Ila/I, Glasgow on Sun 19.
The List l7-3() Nov l‘)‘)5 35