I MEET LOTS OF PEOPLE WHO TELL ME THEY don’t like jazz. In fact. I even married one. They don't like it, that is, until we start to get down to cases, and then it turns out that, well, no, they don’t like jazz, but that Miles Davis is okay, or Stephane Grappelli, or Ella Fitzgerald, or Jimmy Smith, or acid jazz, or . . . well. you get the idea. Jazz in the abstract gets the thumbs down. but it's a different story with a specific favoured slice from the jazz spectrum.

Jazz is a big and increasingly meaningless (because it’s too all-encompassing) term, and the music it covers stretches far and wide. I suspect few people can honestly put hand on heart and say they like all of it, but even those who find the core jazz styles within the mainstream of that spectrum not to their liking will often find something on the outer edges very much to their taste.

This diversity is regularly reflected in the major jazz festivals we are fortunate enough to have in Scotland. The Glasgow and Edinburgh festivals are the flagship events in the calendar, and the former is almost upon us again (while the latter has just announced its programme). It has been all change at the Glasgow festival in the last three years, with a new director, a new format, and now a new title sponsor as well, making its official new name the Glenmorangie Glasgow Jazz Festival (jazz and booze have had a close association for some time).

Sift through the programme and you will find plenty of examples of the kind ofjazz that will appeal to both hardcore devotees and the alleged don‘t-like-it brigade (and

So you don't like jazz? The diverse line-up for the

music, and sung by Karen Matheson, the voice of Capercaillie. Lots of folks who don’t think they like jazz will love it, if they bother to give it a try. The same goes for the exuberant gospel harmony vocals of The Blind Boys Of

Alabama, the slick jazz-fusion of Yellowjackets, or Nils Petter Molvaer’s titanic fusion of early-70s Miles with contemporary club culture in Khmer.

Giving it a try is the key, but

these people are beyond help). Few People the jazz word can be off-putting. Take. for example. George can h n The major festivals provide a Benson. who kicks off the main 0 eStIy perfect platform for user friendly section of the programme at the pl“ haNd on experiment including lots of free

Concert Hall. A brilliant straight ahead jazz improviser in his early days. he reinvented himself as a soulful groove merchant (inspired 'azz by Wes Montgomery). and turned I himself into a major star in the process. Tommy Smith, Scotland’s most original creative jazz musician, offers up a choice new piece of jazz-meets-folk fusion, Sons And Daughters 0f Alba, commissioned by the festival. and featuring another collaboration with poet Edwin Morgan. It will feature evocative new melodies inspired by Scottish

18 THE LIST 22 Jun—6 Jul 2000

heart and say they like all

admission gigs featuring excellent local musicians in pubs and eateries. These events offer a compact and diverse sample of music in a short space of time, but also have the clout and financial wherewithal to bring in the big names as well as the more unsung gems.

The Glasgow programme has plenty to offer in the latter category. and plenty to please established fans of several persuasions, from the New Orleans revivalism of the Ken Colyer Trust Jazz band through to the free improvisation of pianist Myra Melford. In between, lies a mouth-watering range of artists, including sax giant Joe Lovano, trumpeter Terence Blanchard. guitarist Martin Taylor, pianist Michel Camilo. and a Scottish debut for

should make

you think again. Words: Kenny Mathieson

The Blind Boys 0f Alabama do their gospel stuff

the eclectic violinist Regina Carter.

It would also have featured the legendary Tito Puente, but the great timbalero and band leader took ill and withdrew from the festival even before his sad passing at the end of May (but not before the brochure went to print). Puente was a defining presence in Latin-jazz for five decades, and an inspirational figure. His place in the festival programme will be taken by the Roberto Pla Band. but his place in Latin- jazz cannot be so readily filled.

In jazz, as in other areas of the arts. audience figures tend to confirm the suspicion that people like festivals. The range of musical choice and the magnitude of the names on offer is undoubtedly the major factor, while the higher powered publicity and the general feeling that something big is happening may also play a pan. Whatever the reason, though. the festivals are here to stay. and play an increasingly important role in bringing top-line international jazz artists of all kinds to Scottish stages.

The Glenmorangie Glasgow Jazz Festival runs from Mon 3-Sun 9 Jul. See listings for full details.