JAZZ Scottish National Jazz
Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 1 Dec; RSAMD, Glasgow, Sat 2 Dec.
Nobody who heard the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra's earlier venture into the music of Miles Davis and Gil Evans will need any further encouragement to check out its second exploration of that seminal partnership. This time around, Tommy Smith and his players go all the way back to the beginnings of the Miles/Gil adventure with the music which made up the historic Birth Of The Cool sessions in 1949—50, coupled with the Miles Ahead album from 1957.
Chronologically then, this is a prequel to the earlier concert, which featured the best known of their collaborations, the music from Porgy And Bess and Sketches 0f Spain. Working backwards should not be seen as a regression, however; Birth Of The Cool and Miles Ahead were just as significant landmarks in modern jazz, and have proved equally endunng.
Birth Of The Cool had its roots in the regular gatherings in Evans' single room basement apartment, which became a hang-out for the progressively-minded New York musicians of the late 405. Davis and Evans found common ground that would have momentous consequences, but the nonet sessions which made up the Birth Of The Cool (the iconic title came later, with the LP release in 1954) also featured the arranging talents of Gerry Mulligan and John Lewis.
They drew on ideas Evans and Mulligan had been developing with the Claude Thornhill band, but translated from big band to a nine-piece group with an unusual mixture of instruments (also inspired by the Thornhill band), which included French horn and tuba alongside trumpet, trombone, alto and baritone sax. Davis was the galvanising influence behind the project, and their partnership was renewed when the trumpeter signed for Columbia Records in 1955.
'I had to be standing over him and take the shit from him'
Miles Ahead was the first fruit of the new collaboration, and paved the way for the albums to come. The music they made together for Columbia was finally collected in 1996 in an essential box set (part of the ongoing Complete Studio Recordings series of Davis' music), which runs to six CDs. Although, as Davis related in his autobiography, it is perhaps surprising they managed that much, given Evans' notorious slowness.
‘Gil was the type of guy who would spend two weeks writing eight bars of music perfectly,’ he wrote. ‘He’d go over it and over it and over it. Then he'd come back to it again and again and again. A lot of times I had to be standing over him and just take the shit from him because he’d be so long in making up his mind about putting some music in or taking some out.’
Tommy Smith will direct the SNJO for these not-to-be- missed concerts, while Ingrid Jensen, the Canadian-born trumpeter who made such a good impression on her first visit to Scotland in the 1999 Edinburgh Jazz Festival, will step into Davis' shoes. (Kenny Mathieson)
FOLK St Andrew's In The
Square St Andrew's Street, Glasgow, Fri l—Sun 3 Dec.
Eddie McGuire ai-Square go
46 THE “ST 30 Nox~l~1 Dec 2000
First the bad news. Balnain House, the nation's only building dedicated to the promotion of Scotland's traditional music and dance, is to close before the end of the year The lnvei'ness exhibition and resOui'ce centre, instrument, music and record shop, cafe and venue has been a success in all but financial terms, but the directors have, this week, sadly deCided to deal With the mounting deficit by voluntary closure
In Glasgow, however, the good news brings us the opening, on St Andrew’s Night, of the restored 18th century Saint Andrew's In The Square, a 'Centre for Scottish Music, Song and Dance’. As in the Balnain prOJect, the restoration of a glorious old building has reSLilted in a beautiful centre for music, dance and related arts DOubts about its commercral Viability don’t unduly trouble Tom Lawrie, chairperson of the St Andrew's in The
Square Trust iSAlNTSi, and weel-kent entreprcmeur and catalyst in the Glasgow arts scene ‘he already has an OBE for seryices to traditional music‘
'lnto this fantastic restoration by the Glasgow Building Preservation Soc iety, we as end-users have brought The Glasgow Fiddle Workshop and the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust, and a wide variety of other groups,’ says Lawrie. ’There's a bar/cafe, a performance space we can make larger or smaller to suit the audience and rooms for workshops, rehearsals and maybe a shop
’lt's very flexrble, and a great venue for all sOrts of music,’ he adds 'On Our opening weekend we’ve got everything from unaccompanied Scots ballads to the Eurydice Chou, the ClOud Howe Ceilidh Band to composer Eddie McGuire’s new piece for the Festival Stnngs' iNornian Chalmersi
All the huffing, puffing and bluffing from the wonderful world of music
WELL IT’S THAT time of year again. Christmas is upon us and the battle for that 'prestigious' Crimbo number one song is well and truly under way. Sadly, leading the pack by a country mile are Irish teenpop dullards Westlife, with bookies William Hill making them firm favourites at 1/3. Bizarrely though, second favourite is everyone’s , favourite 'controversial’ rapper Eminem, who's 'controversial' single, ’Stan’, is a tasty 7/2. Other hapless contenders are Craig 'Big Brother’ Phillips at 5/1, Robbie Williams at 10/1 and S Club 7 a longshot at 12/1.
THE LlNi -Ul‘ Of ill) and coming at for the Nl‘.lE ( ailing »\‘.'.<ll(l‘s i(>tl.' has just been continued ii‘e tiiiriitiorta' New. Year jaunt around the i ount'y ‘.‘.lll(l‘i sits QMU 5r: (:lasgnx'. ii" .‘l January ‘.'."|ll feature extreiiie '()( kei. Ainen aiongside Dublin's ii1u:e angsteis
JJ/Z, acoustic songsteis Alfre aid the muc li-touted Starsailoi (olrln at, played on this tour last year, so it s
definitely a chance for an ’I theiii first' moment
ICSCOTLAND ARE PLANNING to put on a number of shows for unsigned bands and DJs as part of their ’Eye On New Talent' programme at the temporary Angel Eye venue in Princes Street Gardens throughout December. Any interested artists should send a demo or sample set and biography to: Purple V Productions, 1A Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7TH.
PRIMAL SC REAM HAVE lust anounced a festive gig at the c orii ixc hairge, Edinburgh, 29 Dec
Crispian Mills K:ng Tut's, Glasgow, / Dec, Salsa Celtica Angel Eye, Edinburgh, 8 Dec, Brave Captain King Tut’s, Glasgow, 9 Dec, Elevator Suite Angel Eye, Edinburgh, 9 Dec, Arab Strap Liguid Room, Edinburgh, l0 Dec, James Grant Bongo c lub, Edinburgh, l0 Dec, Ricky Ross Angel Eye, Edinburgh, 17 Dec, Courtney Pine Angel Eye, Edinburgh, 23 Dec, Primal Scream Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, 29 Dec, NME Carling Awards Tour QMU, Glasgouz, 2i lair, Craig David SECC, Glasgow, 24 Feb, Kylie Minogue Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 3 & 4 Mar