MICHAEL BRECKER QUINDECTET
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Fri 2 Jul
Michael Brecker is no stranger to the Glasgow Jazz Festival. The master saxophonist has appeared several times, including with his own small group and in tandem with brother Randy in the Brecker Brothers, but this year will see him lead his Quindectet, a 15-piece band that marked another step along the road in his experiments with classic jazz combinations.
The chance to put together the big band arose through the auspices of a Contemporary Music Network tour in England in 2002, using mainly UK-based players on that occasion. Brecker liked the results so much that he converted it into an album project, released late last year as Wide Angles, but with US-based personnel, many of whom will join him on this visit.
In a sense, it is a logical culmination of a reverse process. Brecker made his name in a jazz- rock fusion context with bands like the pioneering Dreams, the Brecker Brothers and Steps Ahead, and for
years was one of the most in-demand session players
Far from standard
on mainstream jazz projects. The process began with
CINDY BLACKMAN QUARTET
Spiegeltent, Glasgow, Sat 3 Jul
Drummer Cindy Blackman is an intriguing addition to this year's programme. She is one Of a number of women who have emerged as highly rated drummers on the American jazz scene. along with the likes of Terri Lyne Carrington and Suzie lbarra. in what was long considered to be something of a male preserve.
Cindy comes out of a hard bop tradition as a stylist. but she is equally at home in more commercial settings. as witnessed in her work with Lenny Kravit7. a job which bretight her to a much bigger audience in much bigger venues than she cOuId hope to find with her own J87? group. Nonetheless. she returns to her first love with relish.
‘I love to play at law festivals because you get people who are there to really listen to the music. Rock festivals may be lots of fun, but they are filled
in the business. He contributed his horn work to hundreds of records, including Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, John Lennon’s Mind Games (‘I don’t think he particularly liked jazz, but he had such a great sense
the release of his first real jazz album as leader, Michael Brecker; in 1987, and has carried on through a range of projects that included a quartet, quintet, organ trio and a ballad album.
of humour that hanging out with him was great fun’), Lou Reed’s Berlin, Frank Sinatra’s LA Is My Lady, several Billy Joel albums, and Frank Zappa’s Live in
Not exactly the standard jazz discography (although he did appear on plenty of those as well), but the time eventually came when the saxophonist decided on a change of tack and began to focus much more directly
.J/V/ AVISHAI COHEN QUARTET Spiegeltent, Glasgow, Sun 4 Jul
9‘ 1‘ a. Practlslng some unity
The last time lsraelborn b; ssrst Avrshar Cohen appeared at the Ja// festival he was part of the Chick Corea Trio. He acknox'r/lerlges that the
‘My career went backwards in that respect,’ he admits. ‘For example, an organ trio wasn’t exactly a new idea in jazz, but it was new to me — I had never
done that before and I had never made a ballad album
opportunity to work with Corea in his various projects over a sustained period of time has been a major boost to his career. as well as a significant learning experience.
"It's shaped me as a rnusicran like no other thing would. I mean. he's a genius of rnusrc. and I'm very. very grateful that he chose me. that he embraced me and continues to embrace me as a very inspiring entity for hrrn. It's a very deep connection that we have rnusrcally. And more —- I don't know. it's a life connection. I guess.’
Cohen has pursued his own career in parallel with working with the pianist. most recently in the arnbrtrous Lin/a album released last year. although a new one is due in September. which he says rs ‘almost going back to the sounds of my first recording. which are a little Middle Eastern'. l-le leads a quartet for his festival debut as a leader. with saxophonist Yosvany Terry.
before, either. Same thing with the quindectet. These were all great opportunities, and the challenge for me has been to come up with something fresh to say in those situations.’ (Kenny Mathieson)
Sam Bar-Sheshet on piano and drummer Mark Gurlrana.
It's maybe an indication of his eclectic approach to rnusrc that Ly/a finds space both for a stripped down bass plus drums duet on the Beatles “Come Together" and a reworking of Dr Dre's ‘The Watcher". His classical background rs also reflected in the music — as a youngster he trained as a pianist and featured the piano as his main instrument on his prevrous album. Unity. his fourth as a leader.
‘Ja/x is something I'm known for. but it's not the only thing I have in me. I felt that I had established enough identity on the four records I had made already that allowed me to be comfortable wrth the fact that rt goes in so many directions. The most important thing is to be true to myself. For me. rnusrc doesn't have a concept. rt has its own life beyond pure control and decisions and manipulation. It's a pure ernotronal thing lor me.‘ (Kenny Mathresonl
She's a doll
with party anrrnals. They make you feel great. though. because they really give off lots of energy. And. of course. a large hall will never be as intimate as a club anyway. but when it comes down to it. my job is to take care of business. wherever or whatever. The life of music is bigger than all of us.‘
Cindy is a fine composer as well as a powerful drummer. and leads a strong quartet in Glasgow. with JD Allen lsaxophonesl. Carlton Holmes (keyboardsl and Kenny Davis (bass). She cut her teeth as a street perlormer in New York. and went on to work wrth a long lrst of jZl// greats. including Jackie McLean. Joe Henderson. Pharaoh Sanders and Hugh Masekela.
, A. Royal Bank
..-- Glasgow Jazz festival.“
)0“ The Royal Bank 3‘ of Scotland
46 THE LIST .lm 8 .JJ: Law-Z