New friends welcome to the musical feast
ROCK TODD RUNDGREN AND THE LIARS Carling Academy, Glasgow, Sat 17 Jul
Nazz, the Hunt, the prince of Utopia, the Hermit of Mink Hollow - whatever you want to call the famed guitarist, producer and occasionally inspired songwriter and performer, Todd Rundgren is back. It’s been ten years since he toured the UK (1994’s No World Order Tour) with his vaguely disturbing, totally unique brand of noodley high concept pop rock. That time Rundgren hulked a kit the size of Japan around the country. Now he and his new group the Liars can fit everything into a trailer that has been hitched to the back of the tour bus.
Long known to be a fan of technology (anyone who has had the misfortune to sit through the entirety of the occasionally brilliant studio album Todd or his 1978 live album Back to the Bars will be all too aware of this), Rundgren is also fond of downsizing. ‘lt’s never been a question of the technology, at least as it relates to the sound; I see some technologies as being redeemable and others as being very difficult and impossible to redeem. In that sense, I would be just as happy if they went away. Like cell phones, I don’t own a cell phone. They’ve done so much to
JOHN ARMITAGE MEMORIAL TRUST St Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh, Sat 10 Jul
In its first venture north of the b0rder. the John Armitage Memorial Trust brings its unique and very speCial way of presenting new music to Edinburgh. A fairly young organisation. the trust was set up by Edward Armitage in memory of his father. a keen amateur trumpet player who. when he retired. embarked upon a musm: degree at Christ Church College. Canterbury. Sadly, he died before completing it. but the memory of a conversation between father and son about concerns in getting new music not only first. but more importantly second. performances. lingered in Edward's mind.
‘I started talking to Onyx Brass.‘ explains Edward. whose day JOb is as a setind engineer. ‘My grandfather had been Rector at St Bride's in London. so there was an obVious link with the chow and organist there.‘ The muSical forces that these connections then threw up
46 THE LIST 8-22 Jul 200/.
The choir give life to new work
determined what the Trust \.'./ould invite composers to write for — brass quintet. choir. vocalists £1ll<f ()rgiziii.
The music presented by the trust is a mixture of its own commissions from established composers John McCabe. Paul Patterson and Jonathan Dove and scores which are submitted from anywhere and everywhere. 'Really. the nub of it is getting music written. not Only by known composers. but by anyone at any stage. It gives them the opportunity of writing for these forces' Submitted scores are assessed by a panel of extremely distinguished experts. 'Over the three years of the trust. we've had about 90 sent in. whether from students at university through to people in their late (50s' The three selected this year are by Christopher Best. Alan Charlton and Jonathan Pitkin. all names to look out for. And with Edinburgh. after London and Cambridge. being the third step. John Armitage would undoubtedly be pleased that these talented voices are being heard not once or twice. but three times. (Carol Main)
JAZZ ROY POWELL
interrupt normal social interactions and disrupt the social fabric. In that sense, there are technologies that I definitely like to stay away from. But I like new technologies but you have to be very careful about which ones you allow yourself and pick and choose. I think the internet is a great technology; it’s very low impact in some ways and you can opt out of it really easy.’
Almost as well known for his badger bleach hairdo and his bizarre stage outfits, Rundgren has always been a difficult act to follow. His stage shows tend to be unforgettable for the right and wrong reasons (he does, however, have an unbelievably loyal fan base that ensures that he never plays to half filled auditoriums). Promoting material from his much eulogised new album Liars (not by The List, I’m afraid) - Rundgren is always happy to invite new friends to his musical feast.
‘It’s persistently eclectic, that’s why it’s always been hard to describe. I don’t go by any particular style although people will attribute various stylistic influences to any particular song. I don’t call it intellectual, I don’t call it spiritual. I call it, well, it sounds pejorative to call it self-involved. I try and put everything into the music that I really think and have experience of.’ (Paul Dale)
Henry’s Jazz Cellar, Edinburgh, Sun 11 Jul
Pianist Roy Powell is originally from Derbyshire. but is based in Oslo these days and teams up with another rising star of the Nordic lax? world. bassist Frode Berg and Our own Stuart Ritchie in this trio. Both Powell and Berg have released albums on the increasingly influential Nagel Hayer label. and will doubtless be featuring material from both in the course of this visit.
At one time. Powell's career trajectory seemed more likely to lie in classical music, but the realisation that iazz offered a viable alternative while studying composmon at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester turned his creative energies in a
'During my time as a student. I felt increasingly that contemporary composition was going nowhere. At the same time l was listening to people like Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea. who had the same technical mastery of the instrument that I heard in my clasSical contemporaries. but were also composers. and l was drawn
to both those elements.‘
He started working With Manchester Jazz. luminaries like guitarist Mike Walker. and they formed the jazz-rock quiOn band Some Other Country in 1989. It was the beginning of a road which eventually took him across the North Sea in 1995 We year in which he issued his first self-produced CD‘i. initially to take up a teaching appomtment in Kristiansand in Norway. He deeded to stay. movmg to Oslo for the lilUSlC scene. and issued a second disc. Ho/us (1997i. with bassist and former
Tommy Smith collaborator Terie Gewelt.
‘That was very much to do With improVisation. It was fresh for me because I didn't write the tunes. It was recorded in an evening in TerJe's own studio. and it wasn't really intended to be a record: it was more a case of put the machine on and let's see what happens.’
He linked up With Nagel Hayer to issue North By Northwest in 1999. an excellent quartet session With old buddy Mike Walker. master basSist Arild Andersen and drummer John Marshall. That relationship has continued. most recently with the release of Solace. featuring Gewelt and drummer Jarle Vespesuxl (Kenny Mathieson)
Powell finds it’s far from grim up north