PREVIEW JAZZ ROBERT GLASPER The Lot, Edinburgh, Thu 27 Mar

Blue Note recording artist Robert Glasper has made

one of the more successful attempts to merge the influences of jazz with contemporary urban forms, and particularly hip hop. While such experiments often end up producing sub-standard hybrids that do justice to neither, Glasper has found a more integrated approach within the conventional piano, double bass and drums format of his jazz trio.

The pianist first caught my ear at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival a couple of years ago in a band led by Wallace Roney that was notably less successful in making a similar integration, but his own development of the process has worked effectively on record, and augers well for this visit with his trio, which features Vicente Archer on bass and Damion Reid on drums.

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The Houston-born, New York-based pianist’s jazz pedigree is impeccable, while his connections on the hip hop side of the equation include acting as musical director for Bilal and Mos Def (more tenuously, R&B singer Letoya is his cousin and he went to school with Beyoncé). He has acknowledged that part of his aim is to introduce jazz to a young audience weaned on urban dance music.

‘l’m playing the music of my generation, and I do feel a responsibility because most people like me that are my age or younger, they don’t quite make it over to the jazz side. They flirt with it, but they don’t quite marry it. But I also have a responsibility as a young black piano player. As a young black jazz musician. That’s a lost thing too. You go to a jazz club these days and a lot of cats aren’t young black dudes, and I’d like to see that change.’

(Kenny Mathieson)



King Tuts, Glasgow, Fri 14 Mar

After fronting cult, eccentric 605 space-rock collective Gong. guitarist Steve Hillage ploughed a psychedelic furrow through prog-rock before resorting to production duties for Scottish bands It Bites and Simple Minds. Then, chancing upon The Orb's Alex Paterson layering beats over his own ‘Rainbow Dome Musick' in Heaven's late-90s back room he recognised a nascent ambient scene ripe for his input.

“We'd been involved in the club scene Since the 70s. believe it or not. and in the 805. when I was concentrating on record produCing. clubbing was quite an important part of our lives.' he explains. ‘but it took a while before we got to 8 mm where we actually felt we could make a credible musical project in that context and meeting Alex was an important point in that process.‘

Comprising Hillage and Miquette Giraudy - his romantic other since their shared Gong days the resultant gurtar-led ambient techno ‘dancefloor project' System 7 have just released their ninth album proper in a 17-year odyssey that has seen fully involved collaborations with The Orb. Laurent Garnier. Carl Craig and Derrick May to name but a few. It is fitting then for such resiliently resurgent types appearing here in both eye-watering live and DJ capacrties that the newly released album Phoenix owes its inspiration to the Japanese take on the mythical bird of rebirth. specifically manga forebear Tezuka Osamu's mystical space-adventure serialisation. That said. Hillage himself asserts that. ‘It's just perfect for inspiring psychedelic techno music.‘ And who would argue with that? Mark Edmundsonl

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CEILIDH CULTURE Various venues. Edinburgh. Fri 21 Mar-Sun 12 Apr

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the Harp Fesmai within a tt-:;ti\.a‘-. \Uu can dance till ware iegless. tail illllit’l the spell or asleep to stor‘.to_>ilors. and hear l‘lllSlt‘ and song that's Scots. Scandinavian, JeWisn, North or South American. Breton Balkan, Irish. Gaelic. and even English

That song is regaining its; popularity after years of instrumental dorninantte can be nothing but a good thing. and SyIVIa Barnes Karine Polwart. Julie

Fowlis. Christine Kydd, Mike Heron, Stanley Robertson and Billy .Joe Shaver are some of the great stylists appearing over the three weeks,

Another singer you're destined to hear a lot more of is Kim Edgar. Edgar grew up outside Edinburgh where she started piano lessons when she was four years old. ‘Frorn about 12 l was writing songs.‘ she says. ‘but I was performing way before that. The Burns Federation concerts and so on.‘ she laughs 'l had Burns lorever.’ l ater. while she was polishing off “Claire de Lune' and Ravel on the piano she was also listening to the grea‘ Songwriters she admires. 'Jorii Mitchell above all, but I love others. like Boorntown Flats. The Killers. Depeche Mode. and. yes. Stephen Sondheim'

Although she's been teaching and gigging from her post-grad years it's only recently that even/thing has come together, in her powerful first album,

‘It was the Burnsong organisation, who took 17 unsigned writers and put us in a house together, and the SUDDOFI. co-Operation, sharing and apprecIation that men/one showed. that was the big push.‘ She adds: 'The music community. the songwriting community. Is very supportive. We're not competitive. It's not like athletics' (Norman Chalmersl I Kim Edgar Group, The Lot, Edinburgh, Sat 22 Mar.

13-27 Ma' 2008 THE LIST 6"