easily the equal of the best of his work with Jamie ()‘llara in The 0‘ Kanes. while Welsli's Life Down Here On Earth comfortably outstrips his Warner releases. Subsequent discs include Tammy Rogers and Don lleflington‘s excellent lit The Red and a new album by guitarist Mike l~lenderson. lit/gr of the Nig/il.
All of these musicians will be pan of the A Night of'Rei'kn/iiiig touring patty which visits Glasgow. in what must rate as one of the most attractive country- roots packages to come this way in recent times.
‘We've all being playing together in one band or another for a number of years. and it‘s only really Tammy who is a recent addition. We didn't really design it that way. but it's such a well- oiled machine now. and we really want to get out and play live. People seem to be interested in seeing us. and that has to be the main objective of Dead Reckoning. to create an environment where we can make the best music we have in us.‘
Dead Reckoning has now been followed by a couple of other artist-run labels in Nashville. Gail l)avies‘s Eclectic and Compass Records. a project run by Garry West and Alison Brown. who met in Michelle Shocked‘s touring band. The Nashville corporate establishment won't be losing sleep just yet. but a wind of change may just be blowing through Music City.
Let Kevin Welsh have the last word: ‘Things have got so top-heavy and boring that a few of us have said screw that and started our own little bitty companies. like little sprouts. It‘s the American way. I guess.‘
A Night ()fReckonirig is a! King Tut's Wali Walt Hut on Sat 1 7.
ramm— Rave to rage
In a relatively short space of time, audiences in Scotland have been able to hear several facets of the BT Scottish Ensemble’s composer-in- residence, Dave Heath. Clio Gould, the Ensemble’s Artistic Director, recently premiered his violin concerto, The Celtic, while last summer saw Evelyn Glennie as soloist in African Sunrise - Manhattan Rave, its wild rhythms far removed from the Scottish traditional fiddle tunes which inspired The Celtic. But now, Heath, a distinguished flautist, has decided to write something for himself and he and the Ensemble will premiere his new concerto, The Rage, in the Oueen’s Hall.
‘When I write for other people, like James Galway or Evelyn Glennie, I listen to them and suss out what I can do for them, what I think they would want to play. This time I really wanted to push myself to the boundaries of the ideas I’ve had in previous works - and it might get me into terrible trouble.’ explains Dave Heath. The piece is in several sections, which show marked differences in character and influence. Indian raga, water machines, tropical rainforests, Stockhausen and John Cage can all be found somewhere.
‘The final section is called Sarajevo’
‘Do you feel lucky?’
says Heath, ‘and it’s a sort of Hendrix version of Albinoni’s Adagio, using Hendrix’s idea of taking a well known tune - he did it with Star Spangled Banner— and making it into a political statement which also works as a piece of music. Basically, I’ve pushed myself to be as over the top as I possibly can be, there’s no holding back and it’s not like anything I’ve ever written before. It’s outrageous.’ (Carol Main)
The RT Scottish Ensemble play the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Thurs 15 and RSAMD, Glasgow on Fri 23. A recording of three of Dave Heath ’5 existing works will be released in April.
rm— Orchestral manoeuvres
Tom Bancroft: thinking big
The Tom Bancroft Orchestra has been one of the most innovative and exciting developments to hit the Scottish jazz scene in the 905, and the latest chapter in that story will be revealed this month when he takes the newest version of the band on the road. The centrepiece of their concerts will be a new composition which is, Tom explained, the fruit of an unexpected commission.
‘I was trying to get some funding together for a tour about this time last year, to supplement money we had from the old Arts Council of Great Britain. Most of the venues we tried couldn’t take us at such short notice, but Birmingham Jazz came back with a generous offer of a commission, so I
decided to move the whole thing forward a year.’
Last summer, Tom moved from central Edinburgh to East Lothian, and the new location has provided the inspiration for the piece. It charts his initial response to the peaceful country life, which is then disrupted by an infestation of rats'(real, he assures me) before returning to equilibrium.
‘The rats episode is actually an arrangement of a piece by Ennio Morricone called ‘The Battle of Algiers’, and the final section, ‘Goal and logs’, features a development of the kind of folk feel I used in an earlier piece called ‘Scottish Heart’. The new suite, which is called ‘Birk Hedges’, will fill half the concert, and we will do some of the earlier stuff as well.’
He has reduced the band to a fourteen-piece, largely for practical reasons, and it will feature two newcomers to the group alongside more familiar faces, the Gauld Blast Orchestra’s Karen Wimhurst and Dutchman Jorrit Dykstra, both of whom play clarinet and saxophone.
Dykstra was part of the Europhonium project which Tom pulled together at last year’s Glasgow Jazz Festival, and there are plans afoot to take a band into Europe under that banner. Tom will also lead the final night extravaganza at the Aberdeen Jazz Festival (8-18 Feb), but for now, don’t miss out on this rare chance to hear the Orchestra. (Kenny Mathieson)
Tom Bancroft Orchestra play at the ﬂamshorn Theatre, Glasgow, on Thurs 15, and The Queen's Ila/l, Edinburgh, on Fri 16.
Jim Byers joins the hunt for the next Oasis.
First things first: appearance is crucial. Let's face it. your average record company poiice/executive gets thousands of demos a week. It‘s up to you to make sure that he actually wants to listen to your tape. Get professional.
First up in the sounding rather good stakes are Fuzzy. three thin men from Glasgow. Absolutely no points for the shockingly poor. black- and-white-man-with- guitar-at-a-gig picture nightmare on the front cover but a get out ofjail free pass for having two excellent songs. Side A‘s ‘Foolish Pride' kicks in all the right places with layers of extremely noisy guitar and sortie noticably beefy drumming providing the background for a fairly decent vocal performance. Side B's ‘War Of Words' is far better however. with the guitar noise giving way to some fine melodies and a real pop song.
Next tip. Edinburgh's The Orange. (formerly Charley Goes Walkabout). Again. no points for presentation. but at least one or maybe two for effort. Once you forget that the guitarist fancies himself a bit too much (who said loud is good?) this is okay stuff. if a little .wmti'v. The female vocals definitely help to distinguish it but the pretending to play slowly and quietly. then getting louder and very distorted trick is an old one. I'm afraid.
Glasgow's Sunhouse are an altogether different prospect. Sounding distinctly professional and nicely troubled. they drift along sublimer aching with emotion. Again. the female vocals work. but this time they're backed with some sensitive playing including some nice touches on the violin. Kind of like the beauty that runs through the Cowboy Junkies‘ iiiellower moments. Nice.
Lastly. Edinburgh‘s Gilded lil. who are loud. shouty and aggressive. groovy in parts, lo-fi in others and occasionally actually quite good.
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The List 9-22 Feb I996 39