Tolbooth, Stirling, Thu 25—Sun 28 Apr

No, not jazz that you don’t have to pay for. We’re talking the most controversial, most divisive, and most downright difficult of jazz’s many styles, and it's bursting out all around us right now.

The annual Le Weekend bash at The Tolbooth includes successive concerts by the David S. Ware Quartet and William Parker, in which the great bassist and galvanising force in contemporary free jazz will be heard with percussionist Hamid Drake and in his own Quartet.

Elsewhere, Pharaoh Sanders, who was around in the decade which gave birth to free jazz, plays in Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of tripTych, while New York based trio the Hub make their Scottish debut at Henry’s in Edinburgh on 2 May.

Come worship the Pharaoh

So what’s it all about, this free jazz lark? Is it just, as most jazz fans staunchly maintain, uncontrolled, shrieking mayhem served up by cats who can’t actually play straight? Or is it the inventive, energised, iconoclastic leap forward claimed by its advocates, kicking over the traces of conventional melody, harmony and rhythm in search of sonic and expressive freedom?

Bit of both, really. As with most things in music, it depends where you stand. Ken Burns all but ignored it, and it took the rap for the demise of jazz as a popular music when it burst onto the early 60s scene, with Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Albert Ayler in the vanguard.

Also dubbed even more vaguely ‘The New Thing’, it was a conscious attempt to move beyond the perceived limitations of hard bop and modal jazz into, well, interstellar space.

It wasn’t just noise, though, anymore than any form of free improvisation is just noise. It’s all about responding: to the moment, to the players around you, to the spirit that moves you.

Free jazz can be subtle, but basically evolved as a high energy, abstract assault on the senses, and brought with it a whole new expressive vocabulary, often rooted in the most fundamental of jazz’s

building blocks, the blues.

For those who can plug into that energy and invention, free jazz still has plenty to offer, whether in undiluted form or mixed in with all kinds of other renegade idioms, from avant-garde composition through to death metal. It isn’t comfortable, but then, it isn’t meant to be. (Kenny Mathieson)

Martin Fry of ABC, original and best

POP HERE AND NOW SECC, Glasgow, Sun 28 Apr

ls the present really that bad? Okay. so mobile phones. road rage and the tragic acceptance of Kylie as compelling. credible entertainer are phenomenon which have become part of the grim reality of our new century

46 THE LIST 75) Apr ti May PM)?

but are things getting that bad that all hope is lost and we must through ourselves backwards to more innocent times’?

Well. yes. Anyone over 24 must kick those White Stripes and Hives albums to the wall and embrace the soundtrack of their formative years. Yes. party like its 1983!

An unerring appetite for all things past has lead us not to a reappraisal ard celebration of the genius of the Smiths. Teardrop Explodes or he Pixies but to Go West and Howard trickin' Jones. It's unlikely that Morrissey. Julian Cope or Black Francis would round up their old compadres for a Quick run through their greatest hits in the big arenas but we don't need to be reminded that good mUSlC will live forever.

Here And News line-up is a scattergun array of uncredible and incredible. From the extremely questionable merits of China Crisis or Toyah to the seemingly out of place ABC. whose quest for perfect pop and intriguing angles were worthy of note back then which makes their appearance slightly incongruous. especially when placed on a bill below Belinda Carlisle.

The names are familiar but just for fun. try and recall as many ‘hits by each artist on the bill. With the notable exception of those Spandau Ballet fellas (now they were '3real‘2 80s pop stars. no?) it's a struggle to get past three for any of them. Go on try. (Mark Robertson)

FOLK FLOOK! Folk Club, Edinburgh, Wed 8 May

From antiguity the sound of the flute has been associated ‘Nllll seduction. so be prepared to be wholly hooked by the two breathy lead instruments of Flook! Add the bodhran players and a guitarist as subtle and complex on the ‘*<‘:'.l.’)ar<l as l‘e is personable or‘ stage (ll‘fl ,ci i'ige got one of the most ew,oyable n‘usicai experiences ll‘ the world of coitteritpm‘ar‘, instrumental (Zelt'c

Irish in or'eiitatio'i. the band boasts only one ‘son of Bran. Hoi'i.' in Armaghs Brian Finnegan. lle sfai‘rls out. in a Hation of ‘.'.«'(i't<i<}r’f:ii flute players. as much 't‘()l'() than a technical Virtuoso his playing having the freev-xheeling llglll"(,’f§f; of touch and inspired musical ?.lt‘(l(}rf3'.£i"(llf‘(l that flows into |flll)f()‘.'lf3£ill()lf .e real time. at reel speed.

And. as in the best small jél// outfits but rare in traditional music. the band's acute inter- connectedness is palpably. playfully joyful. In the rhythm section. Manchester's Jolzn .Joe Kelly and Baths Ed Boyd create the grooves on drum and guitar. ‘.‘.’l‘-ll() the sole woman. Londoner Sarah Ailen ex Barely Works. Happy Phil and BIGJIG) contributes a ii‘iddle ground of alto-flute and occasional accordion under Finnegan's unwinding melody

More than just coincidence

Now recovered. Sarah missed the band's last Scottish trip aftei :i fall from her bicycle. ‘Yes, I went r gli'. over the handle bars. sinasl‘eil up my mouth. broke some teeth. Nat too good for a flute pl;i\<>i'.' She adds. ruefully: 'In fact. for a while F7“. face was jtlSl one big scab . . _'

Back working full ti'ne It‘. the hard and on business \.".’()tl(l\.'.”(lt‘r the. recently been to Japan, .x'\i.::t'ai;.i. Europe and the U8. site's: l‘iaif;\ tuft: preparations for the liltlt‘.il‘ of f"-:> latest album. the first on then o‘.'.'i label. "We're going to launch the (Tl) in the Highlands. at the Stiafhsbm, "i May festival. It's called Hilfli'i'. Briai‘ suggested it. He's 'eal'\' into lltll‘li, the ancient Afghaiii l)(‘r'f;:(lt‘ tints? poet, S(}(}lll|tlt]l\' Hubai is a poetic form: a tour line iioeri‘ -'i perfect rhyme. full of iiiiisitt, rh\:'i'i‘ {illil breath ‘N().'"l‘.i‘1ll(:ltdit‘ti‘ts