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Next weekend sees the 5th of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra’s annual GIOfest festivals, when a number of the world’s leading free improvisers – including Evan Parker, George Lewis, Maggie Nicols and Alex von Schlippenbach – will be descending on the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Sauchiehall Street to help celebrate ten years of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.

GIOfest 5 flyerIn fact, events start before the weekend, with a launch event for the Orchestra’s latest CD, Schweben – Ay, but can ye? on Monday. The album consists of a piece directed by Barry Guy which features GIO accompanying recordings of the late Edwin Morgan reading his own Scots translations of poems by Mayakovsky. The event starts at 6.30pm and is free. “Schweben”, incidentally, is German for “float, levitate or hover”.

The festival itself starts on Thursday 29th. First up is a duo set by Evan Parker and George Lewis, which starts at 8pm, and this is followed at 9.30pm by a performance by Parker, Lewis, Maggie Nicols and the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. There’s no jazz on at Glasgow Art Club this Thursday – the venue was not available – so there’s no excuse not to come along to hear some of the true greats of improvised music.

Friday’s music starts slightly earlier, at 7.30pm, with a set by Maggie Nicols and the Rope and Duck Company (flautist Emma Roche, vocalist Aileen Campbell, and double bassist Una McGlone). After that, at 8.30, there’s a series of small group improvisations by members of GIO, and then at 9.30pm it’s the turn of the Schlippenbach Trio (Alex von Schlippenbach on piano, Evan Parker on saxophone, and Paul Lovens on percussion).

Saturday 1st December sees a series of workshops and discussions through the day, with the evening’s music getting underway at 5pm:

  • 5pm: First performance outside Lerwick by the Shetland Improvisers Orchestra
  • 6pm: Three Envelopes for Edwin Morgan, featuring actor Tam Dean Burn, by George Burt
  • 8pm: GIO and George Lewis premiere a new work written for GIO by George Lewis
  • 9pm: GIO performs a commission by ex-Sonic Youth member Jim O’Rourke
  • 10pm: Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and festival guests closing performance.

You can find more information about the festival on the CCA and Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra websites. Monday’s CD launch event is free, and for the festival proper tickets are £8 per day or £20 for a three-day pass.