Stirling: Cowane Theatre, Cowane Centre, 26—29 May.

The fact that the bill for this year's Le Weekend festival Stirling's 'annual event for inventive new music and sound' - is completely all over the map only goes to show that the international underground is as vibrant and mutant as ever. Free jazz blurt, solemn white-boy improv, extended throat gargling, stellar soundtrack spew, limp indie, electro-boffins; they're all here.

The biggest coup of this year's festival has got to be the trio pairing of Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo with legendarily ’out' drummer William Hooker and Gert-Jan Prins. As well as being Sonic Youth's most consistently fine song-writer, Ranaldo's extra-curricular activities have seen him writing free-prose and poetry, collecting Kerouac memorabilia and generally just digging in and going at it with a series of free-form collaborations. He's played with Hooker before, so the level of telepathic interplay is bound to be stellar. Hooker himself is a hurricane of a drummer, making a name of late thanks to obsessive documentation by labels like Silkheart, Ecstatic Peace! and Knitting Factory. He's played out with everyone

from DJ Oliv through to Borbetomagus’ Donald Miller,

Lee's bandmate Thurston Moore and the late, great saxophonist Glenn Spearman.

The other undoubted highlight is another opportunity to catch Bill Wells’ legendary trio, featuring Belle and Sebastian's Stevie Jackson and trumpeter Robert Henderson. Quite where Wells will take his trio next is anyone’s guess, having already shed several skins. Previously they've sped through continental-scale space moves, burping 'jazz' ballads, 605 soundtrack splash and symphonic teenage melancholy. All that’s left is to simply set the controls for the heart of the sun.

Elsewhere: Japanese tech-abuse from one Toshimaru Nakamura who live-wrestles with a mixing-desk caught in ever-increasing feedback loops and a crowd-pleasing encore from Japanese vocalist Haco who blew minds at last year's bash. This time she's performing a duo set

With the likes of Haco, Le Weekend is as vibrant and mutant as ever

with Michiyo Yagi, one of Japan's leading koto players, under the group name of Hoahio. Look out for a new CD on avant-saxophonist John Zorn's Tzadik label.

The Sunday promises to be the most neatly attired and well-spoken day, hosted as it is by Stirling’s favourite manifesto-writers the Diskono group. When they're not theorising over a sandwich or smashing Bucks Fizz 12"s in a fit of revolutionary rage they make glitchy electro- splutter as well as any Germans. Also on the same bill they present Florian Hecker from Munich who plays a computer live on stage (’enigmatically', though) and Simon Fell (best known as one third of the Hession/Wilkinson/Fell free-jazz trio) leads a trio through some free-improv and electro-acoustic sprawl.

The legendary Staalplaat record label have long been at the forefront of Industrial plate-shifting, sound-art and small clicking noises and the presence of their sound-system on the Saturday bodes well for a chaotic night. Their array of invented noise-machines and whirring toys includes a four-armed record player. To neatly round things off, Glasgow's Life Without Buildings play some jangly guitar~pop. Like it or shove it, if your ear's to the ground you're here. (David Keenan)

; Personal

Latin jazz has brought a greater focus on more specific ethnic musical identities

JAZZ William Cepeda's Afro- Rican Jazz

Glasgow: The Arches, Thu 25 May; Edinburgh: The Queen's Hall, Fri 26 May.

Latrn jazz has been used as a catch-all term for a whole range of rntrrgurng fusrons, right from the early days of Jazz hrstory. Historical landmarks have rncluded Dwy Carllespre's merger of Jazz wrth Cuban rhythms rn the 40s, and the popular Bra2rlran bossa nova embraced by Stan Getx. rn the early 60s, but the general growth rn rnter‘est rn so-called World Musrc (an even more catch—all classrfrcatronr has brought a greater focus on rrrore specrlrr ethnrc musrcal rdentrtres.

ln recent ra/x, that development has embraced the Panamran musrc of pranrst Danrlo Perez and the Puerto chan saxophonrsI Davrrl Sanchez, among others. Trombonrst William Cepeda also harls from Puerto cho, where hrs lamrly have been Involved rn musrc for generatrons Cepeda frrst came to promrnence outsrde hrs natrve rsland wrth Dizzy Grilespre's United Natron Orchestra rn T989, and has gone on to

work wrth a drverse range of major razz names, from veterans lrke ermy Heath and Slide Hampton through to more radical stylrsts Irke the late Lester Bowre and Davrd Murray.

Cepeda has establrshed hrs leadership credentrals rn hrs own rrght, both on stage and in a coople of albums from the Blue Jackel label, the most recent of whrch rs My Roots And Beyond. He makes hrs Scottrsh debut this month wrth hrs own erght-piece band, playing an energised fusion of sophisticated jazz harmonies and solomg with the melodies and rhythms of Puerto cho and, as the album trtle suggests, more beSrdes.

The trombonrst has called the reSultrng musrc (and hrs band) Afro-chan Jazz. ’Tradrtronal Puerto chan musrc rsn't heard that much outsrde of Puerto cho,’ explarns Cepeda. ’But we have very strong music. My musrc rs not tradrtronal musrc, but I have used the resources of ran to take thrs rrch tradition to another level which has not been done below, and also to take thrs beautrful musrc to a wrder audience. That rs my contrrbutron. l'm puttrng a lrttle frre rnto rt, and a lrttle more of the feeling and experrence of today.’ (Kenny Mathreson)

preview MUSIC


This issue: Alan Gorrie, frontman and vocalist for the Average White Band. These Dundonian jazz funk veterans are the men behind one of Scotland’s most internationally recognised tunes (no, not ’Scotland The Brave') but 'Pick Up The Pieces’. They return to the live arena to coincide with the release of a collection of dance remixes updating their classic sound for the new

century’s dancefloors.

Name an album that’s an unrecognized classic? John Coltrane Plays The Blues.

Which artist or record first made you want to make music? Little Richard.

Name a song you wish you'd written.

’If I Ever Lose Thrs Heaven’ written by Leon Ware and Pam Sawyer.

Name a non-musical influence on your music. Lord Buckley.

Which song makes you cry? ’Lovely Day" by Brll Withers.

Who was the first pop star you had a crush on?

Peggy Lee.

Which instrument do you wish you could play?

The trumpet a la Miles Davrs.

Ever been to a life-changing gig? At the Hollywood Palladrum when Marvrn Gaye rorned us on stage.

Who would be on your dream Top Of The Pops?

Aretha Franklin, John Lennon, Marvrn Gaye, Lenny Kravrtz and Strng

Who had the best rock'n’roll haircut? Brran Setzer of the Stray Cats.

What would you play as an aid to seduction?

’Let’s Get It On’ by Marvrn Gaye. What do you sing in the shower? 'When I Fall In Love' by Nat Krng Cole.

I The Average White Band p/ay the Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Thu ZS/Fri 26 May.

25 May --8 Jun 2000 THE usr 47