Jazz film festival at Glasgow University


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There’s a short season of films about jazz in Scotland at Glasgow University this month.

I’ve been a bit too slow posting about this, so the first couple have already been and gone. Just for information, they were a couple of episodes from STV’s The Jazz Series (although all these are available online) and a documentary on The Clyde Valley Stompers.

Still to come:

  • Tuesday 16th April: Tommy Smith at 21
  • Tuesday 23rd April: Birds of Paradise and Meeting Grappelli, two films about Martin Taylor.
  • Tuesday 30th April: No-one but Me, an excellent documentary about Annie Ross. This is the 75 minute edit, which I think is the TV version.

They’re being shown in the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club (enter by the Main Gate on University Avenue, come through the doors directly in front, and the club is on the left). Admission is free, and the programme starts at 5.30pm – annoyingly, just that wee bit early to get there if you’re working until five in the city centre.

Each programme will be introduced by a research student from Glasgow University. Special thanks must go to Alison Eales for putting the whole thing together.

Now, there must be plenty more stuff out there. I know Tommy Smith presented a series of shows called Jazz Types in the early 1990s, but is there any surviving footage of the John Rae Collective? They were without doubt the key Scottish band of the late 80s (Colin Steele, Brian Kellock, Kevin MacKenzie and Phil Bancroft were all members) but seem to have left little evidence of their activities or even existence. And what about Gordon Cruickshank or Alex Shaw?


Jazz on TV: Arne Dahl – The Blinded Man

I don’t want to give too much detail away in case you’ve still to catch up with the latest BBC4 Saturday night subtitled cop show online. In fact, if that’s the case I’d suggest stopping reading now.

But for the rest of you: when was the last time you saw a crime drama – or indeed any other type of drama – where a Thelonious Monk bootleg played a key role in the plot?

Coming up: Ken Mathieson’s Picante

The last few times drummer and arranger Ken Mathieson has played in Glasgow, it’s been as leader of his Classic Jazz Orchestra.

Tomorrow night (Thursday 11th), he’s at Glasgow Art Club with a different band, his Latin-tinged postbop quintet Picante. Completing the line-up are Colin Steele (trumpet), Stewart Forbes (alto), Paul Harrison (piano) and Andy Sharkey (bass). I think this will also be the first time I’ve heard Paul Harrison play piano for a while – he seems to have been concentrating on organ recently.

The concert starts at 8pm, and tickets are £7 with £5 concessions. Glasgow Art Club is at 185 Bath Street, roughly opposite St Jude’s and above Cooper Hay Rare Books and Inverarity Wines.

Early April highlights: Marshall Allen; Alan Benzie; Peter Brötzmann and Paal Nilssen-Love

The Glasgow jazz scene in April starts off pretty well (particularly if you’re interested in the more avant-garde end of the music), calms down a bit in the middle, and then comes storming back for a big finish.

More details later, but here’s what there is to look forward to this week:

James Harrar’s Cinema Soloriens featuring Marshall Allen & Daevid Allen

Tuesday 2nd April

Multi-media film and music performance featuring Marshall Allen, long-standing alto sax player with the Sun Ra Arkestra and Daevid Allen, guiding light of Gong and an early member of Soft Machine, along with James Harrar on saxophones and Rogier Small on percussion. They’re accompanying a programme of experimental films by Harrar. I think it’s fairly safe to assume this will be unlike any other concert this month (or most other months).

Stereo, 7pm. £12 in advance or £15 on the door.

Alan Benzie International Trio

Thursday 4th April

Outstanding young pianist Alan Benzie is not only a former winner of the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year award, but also the only British musician to have won the Billboard Award at Berklee College. He’s here with a trio made up of a couple of former Berklee colleagues – American bass player Dylan Coleman and the excellent Hungarian drummer Marton Juhasz, who you might have caught when he was here with the Matyas Gayer Trio late last year. They’ll also be playing at the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh the night before.

Glasgow Art Club, 8pm. £6, £5 concessions.

Peter Brötzmann and Paal Nilssen-Love

Sunday 7th April

The German sax player and Danish drummer, both among the leading lights of the European free jazz scene, are appearing in Glasgow as part of the multi-venue, multi-city Counterflows Festival of experimental and underground music which runs from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th. Their set will make up the last part of the Sunday night event at the Southside’s excellent newish venue The Glad Cafe. The evening’s programme also features Rie Nakajima, Fuaim is Solas (a trio which includes Lau’s excellent accordionist Martin Green) and videos and music from Annette Krebs.

The Glad Cafe, Pollokshaws Road. The evening gets under way at 6pm, with Brötzmann and Nilssen-Love due to appear at 9pm. Tickets are £10.

Glasgow Jazz Festival 2013: first few performers announced

Glasgow Jazz Festival have just announced the first few details of the programme for this year’s festival, which runs from Wednesday 26th June to Sunday 30th June. There will be plenty more to come…

Leo Blanco
Wednesday 26th, City Halls Recital Room.
Great Venezuelan pianist, undertaking a UK solo tour. His last scheduled appearance here, at Celtic Connections a couple of years ago, had to be cancelled because of visa problems, but hopefully there will be no such difficulties this time round. He’s a stunningly good musician and this is a gig not to be missed. (Rob Adams is a big Leo Blanco fan too). Not to be confused with the electronic dance DJ/producer of the same name.

The Blind Boys of Alabama
Thursday 27th, Old Fruitmarket.
Veteran gospel group, on the go since 1939 and still with at least one original member in the line-up.

The Jazzateers
Thursday 27th, Stereo.
One-off comeback gig by the legendary Glasgow post-punk band. Not quite sure what they’ve got to do with jazz, other than the name, but it’s a bit of coup for the festival to get them back together again.

Georgie Fame
Saturday 29th, Old Fruitmarket.
Veteran UK R&B singer and organist. Yeh Yeh!