ISLAY JAZZ FESTIVAL Various venues, lslay, Fri 6-Sun 8 Sep
The Black Bottle lslay Jazz Festival has defied the odds by establishing itself as a popular event in the Scottish jazz year. Coming as it does in the wake of the big summer festivals on an island with no tradition of hosting jazz concerts, the event looked an unlikely candidate for longevity when it launched in 1999.
In fact, the biggest problem which the festival currently faces is how to get everybody in who wants to go. Venues are small, and the island’s accommodation structure is stretched by the influx.
‘Accommodation was difficult to (I i4 find last year,’ said Fiona Alexander, co-director of Assembly \ Direct, who promote the festival with the lslay Arts Association,
‘and a lot of gigs sold out. We think
it is going to be even busier this
year, so book early. It is a magical place for a jazz festival, and people have really taken to it - it’s a real jewel in the jazz calendar.’
It is appropriate that the event is sponsored by a distiller, given the island’s fame in the whisky business. The attraction of a weekend away from the usual haunts listening to quality jazz in a beautiful setting has clearly grabbed the imagination. Where else, after all, does the list of venues include the filling shed of a distillery and an RSPB centre?
That’s all very well, you ask, but what about the music? Inevitably, given the limitations on size and the expense of mounting this event, the programme is largely focused on Scottish jazz artists, but is none the worse for that. The Scottish jazz scene is currently buzzing, and its representatives will be boosted by a couple of imported guests in the shape of the vibrant Barbara Morrison, an American jazz singer in the classic mould, and guitarist Jim Mullen, a Glaswegian long domiciled in London.
Other highlights include concerts by Girvan-based guitar wizard Preston Reed, quintets led by bassist Mario Caribe and singer Cathie Rae, and the Latin grooves of Carlos Pena and Hot Charanga Sauce.
The new quartet which saxophonist Laura MacDonald will lead provides a reminder that the conveyer belt of talent is still flowing. A decade ago, Laura came through the youth orchestra ranks to establish herself as a significant presence. Now, she leads a new band featuring the rhythm section from recent versions of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, with James Cairney (piano), Aiden O’Donnell (bass) and John Blease (drums).
Those who wish to indulge will be happy to note that a Weekender ticket allows access to all events (subject to numbers), and is something of a bargain at £32. (Kenny Mathieson)
I Tickets available from Assembly Direct (0737 46 7 5200). and the Celtic Craft Shop. Bowniore (07496 870 262/.
Cathie Rae enjoys the island life
It was a staggering opening salvo. a filthy swamp-rocking stomper of a tune that threw away ideas others (hello. is that the Vines?) might have based a career on and convincingly married punk. psychedelia and progressive rock. Unsurprisingly. they re-released it last month.
The band's self-titled debut album fuses the Verve's epic sweep. the Gang of Four's brutal aesthetic and Zeppelin's unfettered throb to intoxicating effect. Despite its flaws — some of the Music's Jams are a little too UlliOCtlSEX'i. while Harvey has a slight but
It’s all about the Music
THE MUSIC Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Mon 16 Sep
The Music are a shuffling bunch of Yorkshire teenagers. When the List intemiewed them last year. we hardly got a word out of them. They are. after all. jllSl kids. But while they may sometimes have trouble talking up their records. there are a host of people waiting to do it for them. Steve Lainacg called them ‘the best unsigned band in Britain' — they're now
signed to Hut Records. who outbid ex-Factory boss Tony Wilson. Wilson apparently wanted to start a new label based around the Music. The NME described them as potentially the most important group since Oasis'. Do you know what? They jllSi could be.
Robert Harvey (vocals). Adam Nutter (guitar). Stuart Coleman (bass) and Phil Jordan (drums) met in their native Leeds and released their debut single. the limited edition ‘Take the Long Road and Walk It on Fierce Panda last April.
significant whining tendency -— it's the kind of record that demands repeat listen on repeat listen. Played live. it should be positively religious.
The Music are walking a righteous path. They may stumble before they fulfil their glorious potential. But whether they burn out. fade away or collapse in an acrimonious heap. right now they feel like one of the most spirited. fiery and downright Vital rock bands on the planet. Go see them. (James Smart)
Deep in the laboratory of pop we analyse the finest new acts and expose their superpowers for all to adore. This issue: Serafin
British Band Filter Right then who are this next lot? Nu Garage or long- haired retro-lovers from Liverpool? Mark ‘straight for the mainstream' and send ‘em through . . . Mainstream Music Processor Erm. they don't seem to fit . . . it's dark. hard‘n'fast rock with. gulp, intelligent lyrics and screamable choruses. I'm sorry sir. we haven't seen a case as bad as this for a while.
BBF Well how did these riotous upstarts get this far? The Liam Brain Monitors ensure that no higher forms of intelligence get through.
Lab rats Serafin
MMP It says here. they were formed 18 months ago by Ben Fox Smith (vocals. guitar) and guitarist Darryn Harkness. Ronnie Growler then joined on drums followed by bassist Benjamin Ellis. The band have attracted a devotional and fast groWing fanbase on tours With Muse. .JJ72 and Halo. their EPI got rave reVIews and they've just released the sleek. and edgin glamrock EPL’ and are. eek. heading out on a headlining tour of the UK.
BBF lt's worse than I thought. there's nothing we can do. Put them through anyway. someone else can deal With this one.
MMP Hang on, there's a problem. sir. Innovation levels are off the scale. the melodies are dangerously sharp and it's rocking too hard. They've completely jammed the system!
BBF Oh god. grab loploadei and put Stereophonics on alert. this whole thing's gonna blow.
I Serafin play the (,‘at/iouse, Glasgow on Sat M Sep and [PZ is out now on Taste Records.
15—13) Sep 2002 THE LIST 45