Islay Jazz Festival Islay: Various venues,
Fri lS-Sun 17 Sept
The island of Islay is famous for its seven distilleries, its beautiful land and seascapes, its birds and wildlife, its fishing, its golf clubs. But jazz? Up until last year, the answer to that would have been no, but the inaugural Islay Jazz Festival changed all that, and this year the second festival promises to make a significant splash.
Like the late, lamented Dunoon Jazz Festival, the Islay event owes some of its attraction to the idea of a weekend away from the usual haunts, and the island certainly qualifies in that regard. It forms the southernmost tip of the Hebridean chain, is served by both ferry and air links and, for this weekend at least, will ring to the sound of flatted fifths and swing rhythms. Martin Taylor declared it, 'the best wee jazz festival in Scotland’, after last year's event, and the buzz suggested that the convivial atmosphere did the music no harm at all.
A festival like this is not going to feature international stars, but there are a couple of popular visitors lined up, in the shape of bluesman Otis Grand and the London-based American singer Stacey Kent, an artist who seems unlikely to be playing this kind of intimate setting much longer, if recent reactions to her work are anything to go by. Kent, who will play with her husband, saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, and the excellent Brian Kellock Trio on Friday night, is a star in the making. Her classy but accessible approach to jazz standards is winning a whole new audience for music which was in vogue long before she was born, but which seems to be touching a receptive nerve with a young contemporary audience.
‘I really believe that there is a whole new audience for these great songs out there,’ the singer agrees. 'I get a lot of feedback at gigs and from my website, and I find
Islay: distilleries, land and seascapes, wildlife, fishing, golf and now jazz with
that all the time. A girl came up to me recently at Ronnie Scott's and asked me if I had written ’l've Got A Crush You', which I had just sung. That fact that she thought I might have is very flattering, of course, but I think it shows that there is an audience out there which is hearing these songs as fresh and relevant to them.’ The home-based contingent on Islay includes another group making waves these days, John Rae's Celtic Feet, who should feel right at home in the Bunnahabhain Distillery on Saturday afternoon. Also featured is the superb Tam White-Brian Kellock duo, as well as groups led by saxophonist Phil Bancroft and trumpeter Tom McNiven, the recently formed guitar quartet featuring Nigel Clark, Kevin MacKenzie, Malcolm McFarlane and Ged Brockie, drummer Ken Mathieson’s Brazilliance, and harmonica wizard Fraser Spiers. (Kenny Mathieson)
made up of Jimmy tprevrously of Scots reggae dance/punk act Space Monkey lvlafiai, Kev (guitar), Jake lvocals‘, Zeb (scavenged from the rurns of the great Coco And The Beam and Ken iBassl and they will be coming soon to a stage near you
Before they do, however, they need to get more radio play stresses Jimmy, if they want to carry everyone off in their giddy musical whirlwind There does seem to be a certain self-defining schizophrenia about this bunch of genre outlaws though: 'Some of the things we play have been compared to a boy band sound which I think is guite funny Some people seem to like it like that, it can come across as quite
Edinburgh: Venue, Thu 21 Sep; Glasgow: King Tut's, date to be confirmed.
Wayne Paycheck's first self-pressed album, Hurricane Wayne (great title, ava:lable from smokestackrecords@ yahoo com), is a canny mix of many musical styles, one minute you think you are listening to The Shamen in
A canny mix of many musical stles
their LSl period, the next you are caught in a Leftfield riff and the next you are skanking your little nobbly knees round the back of Studio One chonging to the bassline Vibrant and various I believe the phrase is
But what do they think they sound like7 Jimmy, the group's founder and creative leader, describes it as ‘a mix of hip-hop, dance With a hint of reggae and a smattering of punk' The band is
aggressive on the one hand and guite light on the other’
With a sound that is more likely to appeal to a slightly older audience (they count Pink Floyd and leftfield amongst their many influences), you can only hope that Wayne Paycheck will be a group surprised by their own success In the modest words of Jimmy Paycheck ’Come down and check Wayne Paycheck out ' Somehow you feel you owe them at least that tPa'ul Dalel
The Infesticons Glasgow: Arches, Thu 14 Sep.
'Yeah, you woke me up was all part of the plan ’
Anyone who can kill the two birds of an irritating phone interView and getting out of bed With. one well- aimed stone is clearly a bu3y man who still manages to keep his priorities very much in order Such a man is Mike Ladd As well as being the author of two raggedly brilliant albums, Easy Listening For Armageddon and We/c‘ome To The After/urine, he has recently branched out into producmg and is set to bring his latest venture, The Infesticons, to Scotland
From a pretty cold start, the New York-based beat poet/hip hopper warms up to explain his unconventional production of this year’s Infesticons album, Gun H/// Road. ’I spoke about the idea to various like- minded musicians, [including members of Company Flow, Sonic Sum and Anti- Pop Consortium], then sent them this little treatment and then for the most part collaborated with them on the writing.’ United by a running theme of warrior robots battling for control of New York, Gun Hill Road is a sprawling, maddening work of occasional brilliance, which eschews the slick in favour of the soulful It has a shambolic., collective feel which sounds completely impossible to tour,
Ladd agrees. ‘We all got together to play an excellent set in lvlanhattan last week, but we'd bankrupt the label trying to bring everyone over here. So we've pared it down and .ve're using a DJ Rob Smith [Sonic Sum] got to come (0/ he's the only one with a valid passport '
By now Ladd is quite alarmingly sprightly and goes on to confess that his day-time job as a lecturer means that he should be remaining ‘-.‘.Vlill his passport-less, leftfield cohorts ‘l'm starting a semester teaching at Long Island Universny It's basically looking at the novels of Conrad and others through a reading of Foucault Shit When I get back after three \.'.eeks, I'm going to be out of a ;ob '
Although no one ‘.'~.'ou!d wish unemployment on the man, acjaclemia’s loss would definitely be music 's gain ‘TIIT‘. Abral‘amsl
Beat poet, hip hop artiste and . .. college lecturer
7 2': Sex: .717in THE lIST59