Joe Zawinul Syndicate
Edinburgh: Queen’s Hall, Fri 17; Glasgow: Mitchell Theatre, Sat 18.
As an Austrian piano player and accordionist transplanted into the world of American jazz, Joe Zawinul might have been seen as a world musician right from the start. From his early, reputation-making work with Cannonball Adderley, Ben Webster and subsequently Miles Davis, through the epoch-making years of Weather Report, to his recent sojourns in symphonic writing and ethnic music, Zawinul has explored a colourful sound- scape which has its roots in classic jazz, but has never been limited by it.
The Joe Zawinul Syndicate (briefly preceded by Weather Update) is the successor to Weather Report, following the demise of that band when Wayne Shorter left to form his own outfit in 1985. The saxophonist was Zawinul's most fruitful and empathetic musical partner. ‘Wayne and me never had to talk about the music — it was another spirit taking over,’ says Zawinul.
The parting of ways brought the Weather Report era to a close, but Zawinul has continued to pursue the musical vision which brought the band into being in the first place back in 1971. His recent projects have extended that vision in new directions, including the symphonic settings of last year’s Stories Of The Danube, and the world music explorations of My People, with a range of guest vocalists and musicians from Africa, Asia, and Latin America augmenting his regular (already multi-national) band.
His return to Scotland after a five year absence takes him to the Aberdeen Alternative Festival (on Thu 16) as well as the two central belt dates, and features the current line-up of his working band, with his electronic keyboards firmly at the heart of the action.
Zawinul: soundscape navigator
’I see myself as a growing musician who doesn't like to think of yesterday. The sound has always been a growing thing, and with the developments in electronic instruments, I have been able to create just what I wanted,’ explains Zawinul. 'In an electric culture, everything can be applied to it. It doesn't mean that you have to be a jazz musician or a non-jazz musician to play with electronic instruments. It is an arena which gives you an opportunity for using what you want to use. Instruments, electric or acoustic, don't have a culture, they are merely tools. You use what you want to use, and then you come up with a personality of your own in the music you make.’ (Kenny Mathieson)
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Pressure Drop: making deep, dark and provocative music
hop and soul) into productions of their own. Two early singles, ’Back To Back' and ’Trancefusion' revealed a magical melancholic downtempo sound in stark contrast to the emerging house sound of the day.
Their first album, 1991’s Upset, was licensed to a small German label and as a result, never gained a full British
acquned cult status on the continent, but never reached the Wider audience it deserved. Listen to it today and you'll discover the same rich, raw spirit that lies deep at the heart of classrc British acts like SOul II Soul, Portishead and lvlasSive Attack. Front Row, the follow up long player, fell foul of similar bad
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release. Available on import only, it !
5 Edinburgh: Queen's HalI,Wed 15 Oct
supporting Finley Quaye.
‘It sounds a bit pretentious,’ says Pressure Drop's Justin Langlands apologetically, 'but music is something that is within us I haven’t experienced any other work which has given me the same satisfaction that music gives me If you can do something that fulfils you spiritually and creatively, then that's what you should try and strive
for. If mu5ic. does that for you, it's the ObVIOUS thing to do.’
In other words, follow your heart. That's exactly what Langlands and his Pressure Drop partner Dave Henley have done. Though they are about to release their third album, their seven year career has been an uphill struggle
Havrng met in 1986 at London's seminal Wag Club - where they later Dl’d for three years -« Langlands and Henley set ab0ut pouring their varied influences (from reggae and jazz to hip
luck and bad busmess. Again available in Europe only, it never gained a full domestic release.
And so to Elusive (Higher Ground), their third album Deep, dark and profoundly affecting, it is the Spund of a band free to enjoy the success its heartfelt music deserves. ’We try to make music that's evocative and emotional,’ explains Langlands. 'Music which makes you feel something when you hear it.’ Mission accomplished then. Finally. (Jim Byers)
preview MUSIC Detour
Stephen Pastel takes another musical detour
Dean Wareham looks like a film star, plays guitar beautifully and has one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music. A native New Zealander, he now lives in downtown Manhattan right in the heart of the NYPD Blue precinct, though it’s not quite as edgy in real life. A good thing as Dean has plenty to deal with anyway: his band Luna having just released a stylish new LP, Pup Tent. while previous band Galaxie 500's re-release programme has seen them retrospectively established as one of the key bands of our era. He unwinds as one half of charming folky duo, Cagney and Lacee, his partner being his wife Claudia.
WHAT'S YOUR CURRENT MOOD? Grumpy, but also glad to be home for a couple of weeks.
WHAT'S HIP IN NEW YORK? Apparently fur coats are making a comeback.
IS IT EASY TO RELAX BETWEEN TOURS OR ARE YOU PRETTY BUSY? I'm not so busy, but I have to force myself to relax.
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH PUP TENT AND THE REACTION IT’S GOT SO FAR?
I love about 90% of the record, and the reaction is probably the best we've ever had, so I guess that should make me happy, though of course I don't always agree with everything that is written about me.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GALAXIE 500 WITH HINDSIGHT? Proud of the records and the way they sound — I think they've stood the test of time (so far).
WHAT'S THE BEST THREE SONGS YOU EVER WROTE?
I’m of the opinion that performance is as important as songwriting, but here's three I like: Moon Palace (co-written With Justin Harvvood), Tracy | Love You (co-written With Sean Eden), Temperature’s Risin.
WHAT‘S THE BEST THREE SONGS YOU NEVER WROTE?
Another Girl, Another Planet (The Only Ones), Heaven (Pere Ubu), Life In Vain (Daniel Johnston).
I Luna and The Paste/s play Edinburgh Venue, Fri 77 and Glasgow Garage, Sat 78 Oct
Luna's Dean Wareham: grumpy but glad
10 Oct-23 Oct 1997 THE LIST45