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Recital Room, Glasgow City Halls, Wednesday 21st March

Part of the Sound Lab season

Wednesday’s gig by the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra was made up of a series of small group improvisations by various members of GIO, then a final piece in which all but one of the musicians participated (a sort of Glasgow Improvisers Chamber Orchestra).

As always with free improvisation, I found the results to be very mixed. I thought the most impressive pieces were a lyrical flute, harp and bass trio (Emma Roche, Catriona McKay and Una McGlone) which sounded more like Takemitsu than like anything from the jazz world; a piano, bass and trumpet piece in which Robert Henderson explored many of the possibilities of the trumpet mute supported by Gerry Rossi and Una McGlone; and a call-and-reponse duet between Catriona McKay on harp and Raymond MacDonald on alto sax. What these all had in common was that they all managed to maintain a coherent mood from start to finish and explored ideas rather than simply throwing them out then doing nothing with them.

Wednesday’s performance was the first in a series of 10th anniversary events from GIO: future ones will include an improvised opera, and return visits from previous collaborators Evan Parker and George Lewis. It was also the first in a season of “Sound Lab” performances dedicated to experimental music from Glasgow, Siberia, Iceland and the US which will be held in the Recital Room between now and the end of May. Details of these can be found on the Glasgow Concert Halls website.

Parliamentary Jazz Award nominee Rob Adams reviewed the gig for The Herald.