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JAZZ JOHN RAE’S BIG FEET Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 5 Dec; RSAMD, Glasgow, Sat 6 Dec.
What happens when you bring together a jazz-folk crossover group, a jazz big band and a pipe band? According to those who heard the first outing of drummer John Rae’s Big Feet project at the lslay Jazz Festival, fireworks ensue on a serious scale.
The idea had been germinating in the drummer’s mind for quite a while, inspired by working with both Celtic Feet, his six-piece fusion band which mingles jazz and folk players, and the Power of Scotland Big Band. Throw in a long-standing interest in pipe band drumming, and the formula was a project waiting to happen.
Rae’s ambitions for Celtic Feet were far from modest, claiming he’d have longed to have ‘40 of us instead of six’ but his new Arts Council New Work commission for lslay has proved a perfect way to bring this vision together.
‘The remit was to go over to lslay and mingle a bit and get to know some of the people and take inspiration from the island, and also to involve the local Pipe Band.’
The result was an hour’s worth of music for a group that combines all three elements.
‘I had a whole set of plans in mind before I went to Islay, but to be honest I just started writing and the thing took on a life of its own. Some of the material involved arranging traditional tunes and others are completely new. It’s not really a suite, but there is a connection running through it.
There will be an opening set from Celtic Feet plus various guests, then the main piece with both bands, and then the big finale when the Pipe Band will appear.
‘That should work particularly well the way I’ve planned it for the Queen’s Hall, with all those entrances to play with. It went down really well in Islay, where it was very much a local audience, and it’ll be interesting to see how it does in the central belt. We’ll be doing our best to create the same vibe, although there won’t be as much whisky going around!’ (Kenny Mathieson).
8T$§DEBOURNE dress up. Just as important is the money comes from. ‘The pattern N TOUR other side of this world famous of touring is dictated by the arts Festive“ Theatre, Edinburgh, opera house. Glyndebourne on councils. which had a sphere of Tue 9_Sat13 Dec tour. which was founded in order influence on policy which dictated to tour the productions mounted where we all went] explains Think of Glyndebourne and it's by the main house. l or the first (‘iillian Brierley. head of riiarketing summer. all the glit/ and glamour time since 197 l. Glyndebourne and <:oniniunications. Although of top quality opera accompanied on four comes to Edinburgh. this clearly had the advantage of by champagne and wicker It's not that the company hasn't ensuring that certain areas hampers packed With delectable wanted to return to Scotland. avoided gluts of opera while goodies in rolling Sussex especially to the capital. where others were completely barren of countryside. But that is only one they were Instrumental in setting it. the upshot for Scotland and aspect of Glyndebourne. that's up the first l dinburgli Glyndebourne was that it didn't Glyndebourne l-estival Opera. the International Festival. it's Just that happen. one where you really do have to usual small problem of where the Now the Arts Councils of
anland and Scotland fund cross border touring which means that the excellence of what is seen at Glyndebourne Festival Opera takes to the road. 'We nurture and give opportunity to younger snrger‘s.’ explains Brierley. l elicity loft. .John lomlinson and Lisa lvlilne are all shining examples. ‘But essentially these are the same productions as the main house. It's a m; ssive operation. reguiring trucks of wrgs. props. (31’) strong orchestra. supertrtle operator. chorus -- who are the real stars of Peter Sellar‘s' /(/()/il()/l()() and Hreodora. by the way. It's as close as you'll get to v A Glyndebourne \."\.’|lll()tll beuig Glyndebourne get strapped in for Theodora thei'e.‘ iCar'ol lvlaini
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54 THE LIST "1w
HAMELL ON TRIAL
1 He’s back! After spending two years in the wilderness (in terms of recordings. at least; otherwise he‘s a prolific live player. magazine columnist and all-round rentagob). Ed Hamell is up in court again. The critical acclaim that greeted previous album C/iOOC/itown was all but overwhelming. although this year‘s Tough Love threatens to better it by marrying his backstreet» assembled socio-punk worldview with the sprucing of producer John Leckie ithe Stone Roses. Radiohead. mm.
.32. Ed’s (still) not dead. Before the release of Chooc/itown. a nasty car accident while on one of his monstrous 2SO-dates-per’year tOurs very near killed Hamell. and did succeed in putting him out of action fer a year. Fortunately for his family. his fans. music in general and hardcore socialcommentary-with- a-smile in particular. he's now back together. His response to what happened? Release a live record called Ed's Not Dead - Name/l Comes Alive.
3 He is punk rock. Hailing from Syracuse. New York. Ed's an old- school NY punk and his music displays that straightshooting. anti- authoritarian attitude exempi tied in the late 70s. Startling considering all the live act entails is l—lameli and an acoustic guitar, but believe us. the volume he soueezes from the instrument On such heart—warming ballads as ‘(30 Fuck Yourself' would put every tattooed nu-metal berk to shame.
rt Did we say ballads? Oops sorry, we meant roaring. vitriol-laden attacks on everything that's erng in Ed's world. with no small amount of Cinematic New YOrk poise and gut~busting black humow thrown in for good meaSure. Our mistake.
5.33 He’s always got a future in stand-up comedy. As if the frankly ast0unding music wasn't reason enOugh to make this gig unmissable. the chat's also great. Ed will talk and talk. we promise. in the between-song gaps. and you WI“ come to the COHCIUSIOHS that (at he's always right. and (b) he's one of the funniest men on Earth. YOLi‘ll also want to head Out for a beer with him after the show. but that ain't gonna happen.
ﬂ Harrie/l on Trr'a/ plays the Arches, Glasgow, Fri 5 Dec.