11 August 2022Previously unreleased recording of saxes and flute legend Roland Kirk due
London analogue specialists Gearbox Records release a previously unearthed recording by the legendary multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk on 9th September.
The album, Live at Ronnie Scott's 1963 features original Kirk compositions and jazz standards as well as the only known recording by Kirk of Duke Ellington's Angelica.
Kirk, who played numerous saxophones, flutes, whistles and assorted other instruments simultaneously, was a familiar guest at Ronnie Scott’s during the 1960s and 1970s and the recording features him in a one-off group with leading British jazz musicians of the time: Stan Tracey (piano), Malcolm Cecil (bass), and Ron Stephenson (drums).
Tracey was the house pianist at Ronnie Scott’s during the 1960s and accompanied many top American players including Sonny Rollins and Wes Montgomery in addition to Kirk. Malcolm Cecil, who formed the rhythm team of the then-much-revered EmCee Five with Stephenson and featured in the Jazz Couriers and bands with saxophonist Dick Morrissey and British blues godfather Alexis Korner, went on to work with synthesiser group Tonto’s Expanding Headband. He was also heavily involved in Stevie Wonder’s 1970s albums including Talking Book.
Kirk's influence has been far reaching, with Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and Ian Anderson of Jethro acknowledging his impact on their music. His genre - and rule - defying playing style saw him earn adoration across the jazz scene and beyond.
The recording will be accompanied by liner notes which include an excerpt from an interview between Kirk and renowned photographer and writer Val Wilmer from the same year as the recording. The album artwork also features a photo taken by Wilmer.
09 August 2022Edinburgh Tattoo stars Skipinnish release new single
West coast of Scotland powerhouse Skipinnish release a new single, Summer Call, on Friday 19th August.
The band are riding high this month as The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo features two of their most celebrated hits, Walking on the Waves and The Hag Set, as part of the iconic show’s grand finale, which will be watched by an estimated 100 million viewers worldwide at home on TV and a live audience of more than 200,000 over the course of the three-week run.
Summer Call features Norrie MacIver on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Angus MacPhail on accordion and backing vocals, Andrew Stevenson on whistles, Rory Grindlay on drums, Archie McAllister on fiddle, Davie Dunsmiur on electric guitar, Alasdair Murray on whistles, Alistair Iain Paterson on keyboards and Charlotte Printer on bass guitar. Guests Rachel Walker, Seonaidh MacIntyre and Jarlath Henderson on backing vocals, whistles and Uilean pipes, respectively, also contribute.
The song was recorded at GloWorm Studios in Glasgow over four weeks this summer and the delight of the band members at playing together again is palpable.
Angus MacPhail, co-founder of the band, said: “It’s been three long years since we’ve released anything and what a wonderful feeling to be making music again! We are so grateful to all our fans who have stuck with us through the tough times of no music and lives turned upside down by Covid. This song is for them and all who “ride the seventh wave” with Skipinnish.”
Skipinnish will play Summer Call live for the first time at Stirling’s City Park on Saturday 20th August, supported by Big Country, Eddi Reader and Sandi Thom.
Skipinnish (publicity photo)
03 August 2022Leading glass artist stages new 'at home' exhibition
One of the world’s leading glass artists and engravers, Alison Kinnaird presents her latest exhibition, Art in Glass 2022 – A Closer Look at her home in Temple, Midlothian until 21st August.
Working primarily from her home studio, Alison Kinnaird has developed an international reputation with work in public, royal and private collections throughout Europe, America and the Far East.
Her glass ranges from small intimate pieces to large-scale architectural installations which incorporate light and colour. A recipient of numerous awards, Alison Kinnaird was recognised for her creative contribution in 1997 when she was appointed M.B.E. for services to art and music.
Alison Kinnaird is also one of the foremost exponents of Scottish harp music, playing both gut and wire-strung Scottish harps, and was the first player to make a recording of Scottish harp music. She also co-wrote (with Keith Sanger) The Tree of Strings, a history of the harp in Scotland and has produced many other recordings and printed collections of music. She is much in demand, at home and abroad, as a performer, lecturer, and teacher in both her fields.
Art in Glass 2022 – A Closer Look is open from 10am to 5pm daily at Shillinghill Studios, Temple (Fringe venue 244) or by appointment by phone, 01875 830328 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Kinnaird (publicity photo)
21 July 2022New Sun Ra Arkestra album and single on the way
The Sun Ra Arkestra release a new album, Living Sky on October 7th.
Since their founder and spiritual leader, Sun Ra’s death in 1993, the Arkestra has been directed by alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, who worked with Sun Ra for some forty years.
Now 98, Allen remains dedicated to leading the band and continuing the musical journey begun by Sun Ra. The Arkestra’s previous album, Swirling, was nominated for a Grammy and like its predecessor, Living Sky was recorded at Rittenhouse SoundWorks in Philadelphia.
It features nineteen musicians, including a string section, and was mixed and mastered by three-times Grammy winner Dave Darlington, who has also worked with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Eddie Palmieri and trumpeter Brian Lynch.
Living Sky is released on Omni Sound and a single, Somebody Else’s Idea, which was originally released in a different form in 1955, is available digitally now.
15 July 2022Royal Conservatoire of Scotland jazz student awards announced
The winners of the annual awards given to students on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland jazz course have been announced for 2022.
Drummer Chun-Wei Kang has received the George Duncan Prize for Jazz Composition and bassist Ewan Hastie has won the Mark McKergow Prize for Jazz Improvisation. Both of these awards come with a cash sum of £300.
In addition to these, the Alan McAuley Jazz Award, which comprises a certificate and $5000, this year goes to saxophonist Sean Megaw.
This is an award designed to help with Career Development and is given at the discretion of the Head of the jazz department, Special External Assessors, and External Examiners, to a musician or group of musicians in their final year. The purpose of the award is to finance studio recording and production; promotion of their own materials (including digital performance); touring and travel.
Tommy Smith, head of jazz at the RCS, said. “These are all worthy winners who are being rewarded for their hard work, diligence, and creativity. Previous winners have included the pianist Fergus McCreadie and saxophonist Matt Carmichael, who have both gone on to sign prestigious recording deals and to represent Scotland and the RCS across Europe. I’m confident that our three award winners this year will go on to be great adverts for our course.”
Sean Megaw (photo by Tommy Smith)
14 July 2022Guitar whiz Ian Carr showcases Swedish melodies on new solo album
Guitarist Ian Carr has recorded a solo album of tunes from Dalarna, Sweden.
Bangor-born Carr, who has worked with accordionist Karen Tweed, Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell, Swedish band Swåp and many others on the folk and traditional music scene, moved to Sweden in 2001 but has had a love affair with the music from the Dalarna area since the mid-1990s.
He wanted to highlight the traditional melodies but also showcase the sound of his Collings guitar.
“After a lifetime of making records with other people, I’ve finally made one on my own,” he says. “It felt like the right thing to do. I’ve been loving the wild and beautiful tunes of my adopted home region since I moved here and have played them with Swåp, mostly in an accompanying role. Recently, though, I’ve been enjoying playing the actual melodies, temporarily abandoning the plectrum for the fingerstyle of my youth.”
Carr’s inspiration for the daily recording sessions that led to the album was Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence.
“I started wondering how he might play these crazy melodies,” says Carr. “I really hope that you can hear his influence, without the coughing, though you can hear me sniffing at the difficult bits if you listen carefully.”
Covers: Traditional Melodies of Dalarna, Sweden is released on August 30th on Dalakollektivet Records.
22 June 2022New monthly jazz night makes Glasgow's southside Glad
Glasgow's thriving jazz scene adds a new monthly gig at the Glad Cafe in Pollokshaws Road, starting with a double bill of India Blue and Popko Blink on Tuesday, July 19.
Organised by Glasgow-based musicians, singer Emilie Boyd and bassist Brodie Jarvie, Jazz at the Glad has appearances planned by trombonist Anoushka Nanguy's group on Tuesday, August 23 and by bassist David Bowden's multi-cultural-flavoured sextet Mezcla on Tuesday, September 20.
More programme announcements will be made in due course.
10 June 2022Top folk and jazz attractions set for the Heart of Hawick
Foremost Celtic guitarist Tony McManus, in a duo with guitarist-violinist Julia Toaspern, and top jazz pairing, pianist Brian Kellock and saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski lead off a new series of concerts at the Heart of Hawick venue in the Scottish Borders.
Paisley-born McManus, who is now based in Canada, opens the series with Toaspern on Friday 1st July as the Heart of Hawick prepares to welcome jazz, folk and traditional musicians and singer-songwriters in a programme lasting into November.
Iain McQueen, the Operations Manager at Heart of Hawick, said: “I am particularly pleased we’ve managed to secure a date with Tony and Julia, who agreed to add a date at the end of a long British tour to appear with us. The stature of their playing sets a benchmark of the quality we want to present to our audiences throughout this series of concerts.”
Kellock and Wiszniewski follow on Friday 5th August and among other musicians appearing are the rising stars of Scottish jazz, pianist Fergus McCreadie and Matt Carmichael (Friday 18th November), the current BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, local fiddler Eryn Rae and the much-lauded young fiddler Ryan Young.
Further details are available here
25 May 2022Piping Live! returns with full in-person programme in Glasgow
Glasgow’s Piping Live! returns with a programme of in-person and virtual events running from Saturday 6th - Sunday 14th August.
The world’s biggest piping festival, it celebrates its return to the full in-person programme for the first time since 2019, offering a blended showcase of in-person gigs and online events, so both local and international audiences can enjoy the array of world-class performances.
Now in its 19th year and staging its first full in-person programe since 2019, the festival annually attracts over 30,000 attendees. It presents an eclectic and varied programme, including world-class performances, music sessions, recitals, talks, competitions, book launches, workshops and more.
Among the musicians appearing this year are BBC Radio 2 Young Folk award-winning piper Brìghde Chaimbeul, Iranian piper Liana Sharifian, Estonian group Est Pipes, Hungarian bagpipe-hurdy gurdy duo Balázs Istvánfi & András Németh, uilleann piper Leonard Barry, and Herald Angel winning piper and Gaelic singer Allan MacDonald.
The headline event will take place at the Old Fruitmarket with the multi award-winning folk band RURA, alongside the hugely talented multi-instrumentalist Ross Ainslie and the festival’s flagship evening of solo piping will feature Callum Beaumont, Finlay Johnston, Sarah Muir, Angus MacColl and Matt MacIsaac.
Finlay MacDonald, Artistic Director for Piping Live!, said: “We are delighted to be returning to our full programme of in-person events for 2022. We are looking forward to welcoming back pipers and drummers from across the globe with a line-up of new events and festival favourites. We are also really pleased to be able to offer a livestream of so many events as we know there are still many who can’t make it to Glasgow for this incredible week of music.”