From 'Wheel's On Fire’ to free jazz vocalisation. the Tippett(s) have ploughed a truly individual furrow
Keith Tippett and Julie Tippetts
Stirling: Cowane Theatre, Sat 10 Jun.
Free improvisation has been much in evidence lately, most recently in Le Weekend in Stirling. The reverberations will hardly have died away before pianist Keith Tippett and singer Julie Tippetts (both descriptions seem inadequate for what they do, but more of that later) will take the stage at the Cowane Theatre for their only Scottish date.
Julie Tippetts first shot to fame when she was still Julie Driscoll, a teenager singer who injected a spooky venom into Brian Auger's late-60$ rock band, and nowhere more so than in their famous version of Bob Dylan's 'Wheel's On Fire', later recycled as the theme tune for Absolutely Fabulous.
Keith Tippett, meanwhile, was making waves of his own on the free jazz scene, including the surreal Centipede, a SO-piece band which recorded a remarkable album, Septober Energy, in 1971. The free jazz and art rock scenes intermingled relatively freely at that time, and Tippett was featured on three King Crimson albums, and in the avant-rock band Ovary Lodge, which also included Julie.
Despite that additional '5' on her name, the pair have been husband and wife since 1970. They work together in contexts ranging from duo to Keith's occasional big
Ozomatli’s twenty-legged, jazz-funking-salsa-hip hop groove machine
band, Tapestry, and also apart, pursuing solo projects and collaborations of all kinds. They have issued two recordings as a duo, Couple In Spirit, a studio disc, and Couple In Spirit 2, a live set both released in 1987 which captured the range of their interaction more fully.
This is where conventional notions of singer and pianist break down. Tippett studied classical piano from the age of four, but has dedicated much of his work to jettisoning the received aims and methods of piano playing in favour of a very different philosophy, reflected in these statements.
’I have given up playing with my hands in order to play with my heart,’ says Tippett. ’As a pianist I wish to be a servant to the people, not a prostitute. As a composer I believe that if you write with love the music will live. As an educator I strive to make myself redundant. As a conductor I attempt to inspire. May music never be just a way of making money.’
He has not literally given up playing with his hands, of course, although his work is much concerned with finding extraordinary sounds inside the piano, just as Julie Tippetts finds extraordinary sounds in her voice. Much of what she does — especially in this context — is an abstract play with the colour, timbre, shape and sound of non-verbal vocalisation. Not for everyone, it has to be said, but if you are attuned to the genre at all, the Tippett(s) should figure on your agenda.
breathtaking a lrve band they are Rat.-i Pa(he(o's Spanish votals play tag \'.ll.'l Canetrc Sour'(e's raps whrle DJ Sprnobr's turntable trickery duels mm the band's massed rhythm se(tron and, lrke a South American (arnryal, the performan<e burlds and (ulrnrnates rn a Mardr-Gr‘as parade through the anne- struck (‘rowd
So rrnpressrve are O/omatlr :named after the A/te( word for the (rod o‘ dance) that Latrno god, Carlos Santana, rntrodu<ed them at a r'etent gig as 'the future' of musrt and urged the (TUdIOthO to pay Sl)(’(l<il attentron Ulises Bella, O/ornatlr's tenor-sax player, exp|a.ns the rmpa(t of this hrgh praise
Ozomatli Glasgow The Arches, Tue 20 Jun.
More often than riot the live rnusr( enthusiast of today suffers at the hands of apathetrt shoe-ga/ers or has then ears parnrnelled into subrnrssron by bass-obsessed noise terrorrsts lake heart though, as saluatron :s nigh for those ‘.'.ho refuse to equate bleeding ear drums .'.':th a satisfyrng lr‘.'e experrente, or for those who try ".‘xhere's the passron, the energy)’ or quite
simply, “.‘xl‘rere’s the party”,
betause O/omatlr are on their way to Stotland
Born out of a labour dispute rn doesntown LA, rn whr(h the band's bassist and founder, er-Dog, took part rn a srt-rn for workers' rights, O/ornatlr be(ame a highly polrtrused, multr-ra(ral, ger‘rre-defyrng musr(a| explosion The ten-piece band has an ethnrt make-up as drverse as the (rty of los Angeles rtself and their latrn salsa, urban hrp hop and ja/x funk fusror= rs egually e<|e<tr( T'herr' releases on yrnyl only go some way to suggesting how
'lt's hard to ftrlly pro(ess betause for someone of hrs stattrre to say sornethrng like that, rt's just so incredible l-le’s krnd of lrke a rntrsrtal godfather to us and l thrnk he srnterely meant what he sard and saw the styles that we're trying to blend '
Asked to des(rrbe what no amount of expletrves (an (onyey, Bella lrkens O/omatlr's lrve shows to 'a (rrttrs,' adding, ’all | (an say rs just tome and see us betause we’re unlrke anythrng you've ever seen before It's ten people JUSl going off ’ t( atherrne Brornleyl
WORLD Copa Cabana
Edinburgh: The Assembly Rooms, Sat l0 Jun.
Thankfully, Copa Cabana rs not a tr'rbute nrght honouring the lrfe and work of large-(onked (rooner Barry lylanrlott.’ Instead, pr'ornrsrng a heady rnrx of (uban (ursrne, totktarls, (lame and musk, rt arrns to bring a little pret e of South All‘t‘lltrl to l\lrdlothran through means of a ball
DJ lle(to.', the event organiser, has pr‘ox'rded the sounds for salsa (lasses rn Baratoa for the past tuso years He rs (()ll\.llt((‘(l that Copa Cabana rs a new departure from your (ominon or garden Latrn club nrght, as rt rs on a grander stale and caters for those unused to strutting their stuff on the (rtys salsa stene
’lhere are people who don't go to the (lasses or the (llrl) nights We thought that perhaps they don't feel that Clubs have anythrng to offer them, and they’d maybe be more rn<lrned to partrttpate rn an event if It was a brt 'nore refrned,’ says Hector 'The main (lrffer‘ent e \.'.'l'.ll Copa (.abana rs that Its a grg as ‘.'.t':l as a (abare'. nrght People (an (hoose to st? down at a table \".llll sornetnrr‘g to eat and drrnk, s:t bark apt} listen to the musrt, or partrtrpate on the (lattte floor
In. adort on to tx'.o saIsa [)Js, the sou'totratk of salsa, merengue and the rno'e lard batk son, \.'.'r|i tome (ourtes‘,' of the tuxedo-(lad, ten-prete salsa band, ( ohm-“to Sabr'oso The only UK ‘.‘.ltI("., alongsrde a ban» bass l).<il‘.(), three trumpets and
ll<ll‘(l I" T"-("
t‘.'-.o Si?‘(l("'\, features the Tres, a three- strér‘geo C uban (ltllld!
(larrn to be salsa aft onados shouldn't \.'.or‘ry be<ause as \.'.ell as l)t‘l'f().’"“ffl(] salsa and rner‘engue trade'nark spins, gyratng " ps and raw ‘oot 's“.()."'r<, 'Los Dut'os de ‘a Salsa', a group of latrn (lante teather's \.'~.or'krng rn. the Lothran area, \'.r:l also be taking a free dante
Those l‘o tar":
pret es \.'. til: the
The only net essrty :s to dress the part sad to people rt's not a bratk tie event , hat you usual'y (()H‘.(‘ to the (rub \‘~.'earrn(; trainers, so use expert you to make a b". of an effort '
Her name was Lola, she was a Showgirl — not
8 THE LIST 53