rm— Blowing their oWn trumpets
Kenny Mathieson considers the merits of the two exciting trumpet stars who launch Assembly Direct’s latest Jazz Directions season.
Assembly Direct have unveiled their strongest programme for some time in their autumn season, and one in which the trumpet is particularly strongly
Arturo Sandoval: Cuban grooves
represented. The great veteran homman Clark Terry will be along later. but two contrasting players — one from London, the other Havana - kick things off with a metaphorical brass fanfare.
First up is Guy Barker, leading the latest version of his excellent quintet. which has expanded into a Sextet since we last heard him in these parts. His Glasgow gig will help launch Timeswing. the latest fruits of his album deal with the famous Verve label. and one which continues to illustrate his belief that while the jazz tradition needs to be respected, it also needs to be continually developed.
‘l knew right at the beginning when l formed the band that we were going to play within a broad contemporary bop approach. but at the same time i knew it had to be something new in terms of what i had done before. i decided quite consciously not to sit down and try to turn it into any one particular thing. but just to let it happen and see what came out.
‘lt has been very much a learning experience, but that’s the same for everybody all the time. When you are the leader. you have to learn to take more time over everything. and learn how to deal with the responsibilities. You can only learn that by doing it, and what i really want now is to get out and play with them as much as possible.’
The sextet features his dazzling but highly musical trumpet playing alongside a new front-line of Perico Sambeat (alto sax) and Dale Barlow (tenor sax). with the established rhythm section of Bernardo Sassetti (piano). Alec Dankwonh (bass) and Ralph Salmins (drums). The band combines a pleasing bop classicism wih a more contemporary feel in distinctly satisfying fashion.
Guy's single gig is followed in rapid
succession by two concerts featun'ng Cuban trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval, the ﬁrst of which forms part of the Aberdeen Alternative Festival line-up. Where Barker favours a ﬂexible straight-ahead jazz approach, however, Sandoval‘s six-piece Cuban band goes straight for the feet. and. at the risk of mangling metaphors. simultaneously reaches for the stratosphere.
It’s not that Sandoval can't play in classic bop idioms. as a listen to albums like his Clifford Brown tribute I Remember Clifford or the recent Swingin' will testify. When he gets into the Cuban setting, though. the vibrant powerhouse rhythms tend to send him into a frenzy of high-note acrobatics which is exciting and tiresome in equal measure (and. it must be said. very popular).
While Cuban music remains central to
Guy Barker: new album his inspiration. however. it IS not his only musical focus. Sandoval was already a star attraction with the great lrakere in Cuba when he defected to the west. and he has been making the most of his freedom to travel and play with other musicians. and to explore a greater range of idioms and forms in the process.
‘Cuban music is very important to me, but I love all kinds of music. For me. there is only one music ~ the good one. l really enjoy being able to feel free about what l play on stage. and not to have to compromise with any kind of style at all is the best feeling. With .S'm’nging'. though. I really felt the need to come back and play some real jazz again.‘
Guy Barker Sextet. Mite/tell Theatre. Glasgow. Wed I6; Arturo .‘i'amlm'ul. Music Hall. Aberdeen. T/ttlt'S I 7; Queen '3‘ Hull. Edinburgh. Fri [8.
ma:— little Arithmetic adds up
Understanding your fellow man is an art rather than a science, but the way dEIlS vocalist Tom Barman expounds the concept behind their beguiling new single ‘little Arithmetics’ is a persuasive argument to the contrary.
‘It’s a song about the little mathematics of human behaviour,’ he says. ‘Everybody is a formula, every person consists of things that you add up and it comes down to a sum and for every person it’s different. Things can get pretty complicated if you have to communicate with people and be aware of their past and their present and this and that.’
The lyrical and musical ideas of Carmen and his Antwerp buddies are out-there enough for people to still bendy the ‘wacky Beiglans’ label
about, and they’re subject to degrees of misunderstanding which you’re probably not going to encounter with the Spice Girls. One teenage listener recently wrote to Barman claiming that ‘little Arithmetics’ b-side ‘My Wife Jan’ was about his suppressed homosexuality and unrequited love for a boy called Jan. Fair point, but Barman actually wrote it after hearing an anecdote about Captain Beefheart in a photo session.
In terms of angularity and idiosyncracy Captain Beefheart Is a clear influence and dEIlS’s second album In A Bar, Under The Sea has been produced by former Magic Band member Eric lirew Feldruan.
The album will be loved and cause confusion in equal measure. In a vast melting pot of styles which incorporates rock, jazz and blues elements, outsiders may find it tricky to spot what direction dEllS are headed but with the addition of expatriate Glaswegian Craig Ward on guitar replacing Iludy ‘I’rouve, the band can see a crucial development.
‘I can actually play the guitar a bit,’ says Ward, ‘whereas IIudy did these wonderful abstract things because he hadn’t the slightest idea how to play guitar. I hope I can open up the possibilities by having a similar
attitude but being a bit more adept.’ Does that constitute divine
dEIlS: social scientists
intervention? (Fiona Shepherd) dEUS play Music Box, Edinburgh, Fri 4.
36 The List 4-l7 Oct I996