22 February 2021Young saxophonist channels his emotions on new video track

Young Glasgow-based saxophonist Matt Carmichael has released a second video single to trail his forthcoming debut album, Where Will the River Flow.


Twenty-one-year-old Carmichael, who reached the final of the televised BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 in November, recorded a live version of the album track Dear Grandma at the Pianodrome in Edinburgh, adding special guest, fiddler and former BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year, Charlie Stewart.


“I wrote the tune as a dedication to my Grandma after she passed away a few years ago,” says Carmichael, who is currently in his final year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. “Even though she isn’t here anymore, playing this tune at gigs gives me a special place to remember her and brings back memories.”


Where Will the River Flow is due out on March 12th and includes a number of tracks that Carmichael has written for people and places that have been important to him. As well as the tune he wrote for his grandmother, the area where he grew up on Speyside has inspired tracks such as Cononbridge, The Spey and Firth.


“I always find playing music more meaningful when you can channel aspects of life and real emotions into what comes out,” he says. “As a listener, it is the emotion and feeling in music, and it's power to enrich and bring colour to life experiences, that always draw me in the most.”


The video of Dear Grandma is free to view on YouTube and Where Will the River Flow is available to pre-order on Carmichael’s website.


Matt Carmichael (photo by Arms and Legs Studio)

08 February 2021Playtime continues its international live streaming series

Edinburgh’s Playtime jazz collective continues its international live-streaming series on Friday February 11 when trumpeter Laura Jurd joins a session taking broadcasting from five different locations.


Prevented from streaming from their temporary home in Pathhead Village Hall due to Covid-19 restrictions, the core Playtime quartet of saxophonist Martin Kershaw, guitarist Graeme Stephen, bassist Mario Caribe and drummer Tom Bancroft have reverted to streaming from their own homes – with special guests from as far away as New York and Boston as well as closer to home.


Already the new series, which has moved to a new Friday night slot, has featured the quartet being joined from New York by pianist David Berkman and from Massachusetts by Boston-based Dutch saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra. Laura Jurd will be followed by vibraphonist Corey Mwamba and saxophonists Iain Ballamy and Raymond MacDonald.


“We’re determined to keep the music flowing and to keep bringing in new ideas,” says Bancroft. “We were able to promote a Playtime Presents series in the run up to Christmas, where we gave other bands and musicians the night to themselves. But we wanted to try something different again to keep giving our audience – and us! – new experiences and collaborating with musicians who are hundreds – in some cases thousands – of miles away is certainly a different experience.”


The six musicians in the latest series all have links with Scotland, David Berkman having worked quite extensively with players including Bancroft over the past twenty years and continuing an occasional concert and recording partnership with saxophonist Laura Macdonald when time and travel restrictions allow.


“Jorrit has played with my orchestra in Edinburgh and Iain, who’s half-Scottish, is a friend from back in the Wavendon Summer School days of the early 1980s,” says Bancroft. “Laura Jurd has worked very successfully with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and with Fergus McCreadie’s trio. Raymond is Scottish, of course, and Corey has worked a lot with Raymond through the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. We didn’t just choose them because we knew them, though. We chose them because they’re all great players and we thought they might be amenable to trying the journey into the unknown, for us, that is long-distance streaming.”

Full details are available here

06 January 2021Fife youth orchestra goes international with Zoom sessions

Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra is inviting young musicians from all over the world to join its weekly Thursday sessions via Zoom.


Musicians aged from 8 to 19 can take part in the sessions, which run from 7pm to 8pm UK time and cost £3.50 per session, without fear due to the orchestra’s enthusiastic director, Richard Michael’s Mistakes Are Cool mantra.


Richard Michael, whose involvement with FYJO dates back to the 1970s, has played a significant part in the careers of many musicians who are now making an impression on the jazz scene in the UK and further afield. Award-winning saxophonist Helena Kay, double bassist Calum Gourlay, who now works with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Tommy Smith’s quartet, and pianist Fergus McCreadie, who releases the follow-up to his double award-winning debut album, Turas, on Edition Records on January 29 are all FYJO alumni.


“When the Covid-19 pandemic put an end to our conventional rehearsals, we thought we might have to put FYJO on hold,” says Michael. “But due to Zoom we have been able to expand our membership and welcome members from across the UK and even as far away as Romania. It’s great to be able to encourage young musicians to improvise and take risks without fear of making mistakes because, as I’ve always said, mistakes are cool and can lead to unexpected and fruitful creative ideas.”


Anyone interested in taking part in the Thursday sessions can get more information from


Richard Michael

26 December 2020Rare recordings released as Memorial to bass virtuoso Ron Mathewson

Jazz in Britain has released Memorial, a seven-track tribute to Ron Mathewson, the double bass virtuoso who died on December 3, aged seventy-six.


Taken from Ron’s personal archive, the tracks feature the Shetland-born musician who became revered across the jazz world in sessions with leading figures of the British jazz scene including saxophonist Trevor Watts’ trailblazing Amalgam, Latin-American fusion outfit Paz, pianist Gordon Beck’s Gyroscope and the Tony Coe-Kenny Wheeler team, Coe, Wheeler & Co.


The tracks feature Ron on both double bass and bass guitar and there’s a solo double bass feature, Black Forest that calls to mind the brilliantly adventurous playing and amazing tone production that gathered Ron admirers including Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Bill Evans, Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott, with whom Ron worked regularly for some fifteen years.


Jazz in Britain has been established to ensure that music from the 1950s through to the 1970s is not lost and that musicians or their families receive recompense, recognition and appreciation.   


Memorial is available through Bandcamp.


Ron Mathewson (photo by Brian O'Connor)

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