BBC MUSIC LIVE
Rey Cheelee Or‘cheetr‘e
Clyde Auditorium, Wed 26 May.
Ray Charles is an amazingly important figure in the develop- ment of postwar black music. His eclectic stylings take in a rich Southern stew of soul, rhythm and blues, gospel, blues, jazz and country.
Growing up in a southern family that was poor even by Depression- era standards, he lost his sight at the age of six. He later succumbed to the near-mandatory heroin addiction of the SOs jazz scene, although he eventually broke the habit. A long apprenticeship on the breadline was only ended by his first major hit, ’I Got A Woman’, in 1954.
Some of these experiences will have fuelled his sympathy with the underdog. A lifelong campaigner for black rights, he once walked out of a concert in Atlanta when the promotor insisted on a segregated audience, with the whites in the plum seats downstairs.
’I told the promoter that l didn't mind segregation,’ Charles recalled, ’Except that the black folks had to be downstairs, and the white folks
Chairman of the keyboard: Ray Charles
upstairs. After all, I was black and it only made sense to have them close to me. Otherwise, I wasn’t going to play. And I didn't. And he sued.
And I lost.’
Charles began to develop his own style after moving to Seattle during the war. Half a century before grunge, the city was enjoying a musical explosion, and it was there that he met future
collaborator, Quincy Jones.
'It was happening in Seattle at that time,’ says Jones. 'There were a lot of hot bands. We played the clubs, and we had to learn everything —
Schottisches, pop music, funk music, striptease music, blues, bebop. Ray told me that every music has its own soul, and you have to be true to it.
and I have never forgotten that lesson.’
Charles adhered to that philosophy throughout the main creative span of his career from the mid 505 to the mid 705. If he has slowed down in more recent times, the 68-year-old remains a
powerful and charismatic performer. He will be
accompanied by the BBC Big Band in Glasgow, a unit more than capable of keeping pace with his demands. (Kenny Mathieson)
Mike Weetbeook Dr‘cheetr‘e Strathclyde Suite, Sat 29 May.
Perfectly cornposed: Mike [WeStbrook
A (ilasoos'. l)(”‘.‘()l"l‘.(i"((‘ by the Mire Westbrook Or: hestra .s a distin<t (oup for BBC i‘.l‘.lS|( Lire Widely regarded as the UK's prereier iaz'x (on‘posei, \."/estbrool<
14 THE LIST ‘3 72/ ‘999
has been a major toure on the European stene sinte the 'ate 60s l-lox‘xex'er, he ‘.'.'()l'l<8 ('ize‘ly on the (ont-nent, so the opportunity to (onyene his big band in the UK is a rare one This coi‘tert twill be the igrst suite he perfo"n‘.e(:‘ The Cortege la sono series based on work by Rimbaud, Hesse, Blake and l,.oi‘<a: as part of the Eomourql‘i Festival iii the early 80s. The 63-year-old (()l‘tl)()S(‘.’ has returned ‘.‘.'llli ‘.’<il'|()ll5 sii‘aller ense'ifiﬂes smte hese 1i‘.(lude the \."‘/estbrool< Rossuxi, his Brass Band, and a (abaret trio \.'.atl‘- his trite, Kate \‘v/estbrook an <l(_(()lT‘.[)l|Sll(-‘(l sinoei', iniisit iaH and multi—media performer ll‘. her on?“ rioht', who ..s an irtteoi'af part of his projects
But, the Orthestra has altaays been the most l)l'()(ltl(il'.’(’ outlet for \"Jestbrook's ()l'!(lll‘(il and ii'iaoinative \‘u'l‘lllllql as the retent "e-reiease of three of his (lassi( early 70s Derain albi.ms l2 (ontrrm (jiasoox': will see them perform radital l'("t'\.'()l'l<lll(;8 of Duke ElilllQlOli one of Westbrook's three heroes alono
(“ares Unions and Kurt \.'.v'eil.‘ (lassi(s as t.‘.eil as original p e<es His (arrent album, The Or<riesrra ()i’ Smith’s Academy, (oi‘tains some of the material \'.'h'(h he '.'.i2l play, and has an :ittimate (onnettion ‘.'.|lll the (ity Staying at ﬁlie Smith's Hotel on Sautl‘iehall Street ill l982, \"r’estb'ook d:s(o\./e"ed a new (hord ninth had a profound :mpatt on his sound and te(lm:(iue
‘l llli upon the Smiths Hotel (‘tord durnti a sound (heck ll‘. (itasoox'.,’ says \"Jestbrook 'lt betanie the starting point of a next. attitude to ll‘tiSKdl sti'iit'ttii'e, a lt(‘\.'. \.".<l‘/ o‘ buildmo litLlSi( It “as beei‘ a rith soui't e of ideas for me, and l haze applied it I." many different (oritexts'
\."./<>stl)i'()t)k's band ll feature many of the musitians associated ‘.'.|Il‘i lilll‘ over the years, in(|udino saxophonist (hris B'sr'oe and ti'urnpetei Dirk Pearte He even parts to fly yioliitist [)onnnmue Pi’arely :n from Paris for what promises to be ai‘ auspitious o((asion iKenny lglathiesoi‘.
Steve Eeele end the Del McCouey Bend
SECC, Tue 25 May; Ramshorn Theatre, Wed 26 May.
Steve Earle clearly possesses a \.‘.'."y sense of humour When asked to (Ontribute a tune to a Jimmie Rodgers tribute album a couple of years l)(i(,.-<, he Chose ’In The Jailhouse Nov], a selection \.-.'hich ‘.‘.’ill amuse anyone who has foli0\.'.'ed has rollewoaster ride from (Ountry rock stardoir‘ to a Nashville prisoe and back
Mthy wrote him off as yust as another iurikm v (,Il'Ti when the success Of 1988's (.lassir Copperhead Road became dissipated in heroin and (iratk This llTTDlGSSEOll was lent \.'.’(‘i()lit by his answering machine ll’1(?SS(l(}(? of the time ’This is Steve I'm out shooting herom, (basing thirteen-year-old girls
Kind of bluegrass: Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band
and beaten up (00s
But he (leaned up and is very definitely back ‘l'd been a i;i"<:e Sl";((‘ ltyas th rteert, (if‘.(l l :ooked up one day and I wasn't dead yet, and to" some reason, l deeded that didn't '.'.a"t to be dead, so something had to (l‘anoe, is his typitaliy oru‘f' app'azsa of We time
His nee. albumfhe ."./iounrain, s a wor‘derftn bluegrass ~"(‘(t)"(l salve“ sees him (ol'aboi'atzno ‘.'.ll" the De thCoary Band
’| rar" into il‘.(‘ i.l<(ioi.rys a (oaole o" years ago, thee nae had a ("(ll‘((‘ to perforn‘ I." Nashs'rle ‘.'.l‘.("‘. tl‘e am. who runs \"o [Depress/oe maoa.‘ ".0 [the bib’e ot' the alt-(oontry stev‘e] put us together,’ he says I <iS\(‘(l I.’t("l‘ .t' the; would play 0" a xzhole aloun‘ o‘ r‘e'cv. bluegrass soi‘os, and they did
Typically for a man \'.hose (a'eei' “as been marked by (optrasts, Fares tuxo BBC l\lus.( Li\.(‘ (iios toald :‘o‘. be more different The “lot”. a‘ter he plays to lllOtlSlelS in the SECC, he w?! owe a" (l(()llSil( performance to a" (ad ewe of 100 peop e a oiioside a't'sts including alt-(ountry star Keny s \Ken'iy hiath'eson