when he called her in New York to talk about the gig. The music was
CLASSICAL Maria Schneider
RSAMD, Glasgow, Sat I7 Feb; Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Fri I6 Feb.
Hot on the heels of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra's second concert featuring the music of Gil Evans and Miles Davis comes a not- to-be missed collaboration which will focus on a woman who apprenticed with Evans, and has gone on to evolve her own equally individual approach to the ticklish business of jazz composition.
Maria Schneider’s debut in Scotland is a typically imaginative venture from the SNJO's director, saxophonist Tommy Smith, who is looking forward immensely to working with her. Smith knew Schneider's music from her recordings, but had never met her
recommendation enough, but
Tommy had also worked with a
number of musicians who were involved with her own orchestra.
Schneider already had a considerable musical training behind her when she moved to New York City and first became involved in jazz. She received a National Endowment for the Arts award to study composition with the trombonist, arranger and composer Bob Brookmeyer, who stands alongside band leader Mel Lewis and Gil Evans as her principal mentors. She became Evans’ assistant in 1985. and worked with him for three years (the title track of her first album, 1994's Evanescence, is a dedication to Evans, as well as a play on his name).
’Gil inspired me to not sound like him,‘ she says. ‘Before I met him, some of my pieces definitely sounded like his style. I always loved his arrangements, and they affected my music, but when I worked for him, he never told me technically how to do something, and he never expected me to write like him. You can hear some influences in the orchestrations, but our approaches are
The sorcerers apprentice makes her debut
Schneider has gone on to establish her own musical signature. She has recorded three albums devoted to her compositions with a large ensemble, Evanescence, Coming About (1996) and Allegresse (2000), all on the Munich-based enja records label. The concerts in Scotland will feature a selection of music from all three discs, as well as her 'Waltz For Toots’, written for her occasional collaborator, harmonica maestro Toots Thielemans, and her distinctive arrangements of a couple of jazz standards. Schneider will conduct the SNJO, and the experience of bringing her music to life will provide another challenge for the players.
’Sometimes I compare my ideas to sculptures in the air,‘ she says. ‘Architecture applies to it. When a band plays your music, it’s just notes and rhythm. To get that other dimension to happen to the music, they have to get totally comfortable with the notes and the rhythm. Then they can start to feel the conception behind the piece. Then that other thing that goes beyond notes and rhythm starts to become apparent.’
a lot different.‘
HIP HOP/SOUL Rae & Christian
More than just soul men
It’s always exciting as an interviewer when you get a first. Your first stroppy hang-up temper tantrum, artists breaking down confessing their innermost feelings, or in this most perverse case someone cutting short an interview because of a full bladder. ’I’m really sorry man,’ explains a sheepish Mark Rae. ’I’ve never done this before, but I really have to go for a piss. I was out last night and I’ve been drinking water all morning.’
Before Rae makes his all-too-swift exit from the telephone conversation, he has more than enough time to tell me about what he and partner Steve Christian have been up to of late. It would take a day just to tell the st0ry of the collaborators, so we talk about the Manchester duo’s second album, S/eepwa/ki‘ng, which is released this month.
’We’re very pleased with how it all turned out,’ states Rae — the extrovert patter merchant to Christian’s veritable quiet man — ’even though not all of it the way,we initially envisaged.’ Such is the nature of collaboration, and what collaborators they are, a stellar line-up, headed by 705 soul star Bobby Womack and California’s premier rap crew The Pharcyde.
’The first album (1998's Northern Sulphuric Soul) was very East Coast hip
hop, so we deliberately tried to make this one more diverse,’ says Rae. The Pharcyde gave the duo their first remix with ’Runnin’ in 1995 and Rae was delighted with how their eventual
FOLK The Liz Doherty Band
Stirlin Folk Club, Mon 19 Feb; East Kilbri e Arts Centre, Sun 25 Feb; Edinburgh Folk Club, Wed 28 Feb.
Liz Doherty knows a thing or two about the fiddle — as traditional music lecturer at Cork UniverSIty, With a PhD study of Cape Breton's fiddle music Culture and, most importantly, as a fine fiddler herself The yOung Donegal woman, now for the first time leading her own group, is also refreshingly honest about her own limitations 'l'm shite at slow airs and accompanying songs,‘ she reveals ’That's why I don't have a singer in the band ’
But as one of the founder members of Nomos — who led the new wave of y0ung, Virtuoso Irish bands, finally splitting up only last week — and as a former member of the popular Irish all- women outfit the Bumblebees, and
With her own recent album Last Orders
on the Foot Stompin label, Liz's power and technique are well known wherever Irish musrc is played. Just don’t call her a Donegal fiddler. ’l
wasn’t brought up playing that tradition. That's way over in the west and south. Where I grew up, near
pairing ended up. ’They are some of
the most adept rappers around.’
It was their get together with
Womack however, that remains foremost in Rae's mind. ’I was in Los
Angeles doing an internet radio mix
and I mentioned how much I liked
Bobby’s music. The next thing I know
I’ve got his management’s phone number in my hand, so I gave him a call and we met, got on and laid down a couple of fantastic tracks.’ Rae &
Christian’s signature slack hip hop and
up beat funk beats work perfectly with Womack's soulful groan, and their sound has broadened to incorporate more Latin and dubby influences to make way for other vocalists such as
legendary reggae singer Cedric Myton
of The Congos and Tania Maria.
One other factor which has broadened the duo’s horizons is playing live, something they did for the first chunk of last year, and with more shows expected this year, best get out and see what all the fuss is about. (Mark Robertson)
R Sleepwa/ki'ng is re/eased on Mon 27 Feb on GrandCentra/ Records.
Buncrana, we played smoother, generic Irish tunes. It wasn't ’til I was at University that people would be asking me to play Donegal fiddle and I had to learn all these Highlands and the likes'
Now taking advantage of a year’s sabbatical and a Fellowship at Edinburgh’s Institute of Advanced Studies, she’s put together a handpicked band for a British — and later Australian — tour. Ireland’s
legendary Gino Lupari takes the
bodhran chair, P002ie fiddler Eilidh Shaw is her sparring partner, and Edinburgh’s ubiqwtous MacKenZie (one of the Winners of this
year’s 25k Arts CounCil Awards)
. supplies the gUitar ’I didn’t want I
regular chords,’ insists Liz. ’I wanted something more challenging. And
there’s no one like him in Ireland.’ Stylistically, though, it’s Ms Doherty’s band, ’Yes,’ she laughs, 'this isn’t a democracy. It’s my way or the highway!’ (Norman Chalmers)
Liz Doherty wears the trousers
IS Feb-I Mar 2001 THE “ST 51