Venue: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland
Date: 17 May 2018
This rare concert from curiously monikered electro-acoustic jazz band with a difference, Sugarwork, is to be celebrated. Four illuminati of the Scottish jazz scene, each known for their musical accomplishments and interests stretching deeply into and beyond jazz. Led by pianist, composer and producer, Manchester-born Paul Harrison, who composed most of the tunes aired tonight, the quartet present their eponymous debut album in this popular subterranean Edinburgh jazz venue.
Based in Glasgow where he teaches on the jazz degree course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Harrison has also long been active in some of Scotland’s most thought-provoking and diverse music projects: the highly esteemed Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and McFall’s Chamber Orchestra, Simon Thacker’s Ritmata (highly crafted world music), Trio Magico (presenting the life-enhancing music of Brazilian, Egberto Gismonti) and club-friendly electronics – drums duo, Herschel 36.
It is often the case across Scotland’s central belt that musicians collaborate across musical genres, so it is no surprise to learn that Sugarwork’s members have played together in other Scottish bands. Thus drummer, percussionist, composer and producer Stuart Brown plays in the last three of the above listed bands, his knowledge of non-western musical styles, added to dub-wise sensibility and a facility with electronica, having led to work with esteemed names such as David Byrne, Gilad Atzmon and Sun Ra Arkestra’s Dave Gordon.
Date: May 19, 2018 Venue: Schimmel Center (NY) Review by Piruz Partow
Legendary Iranian kamancheh performer, Kayhan Kalhor, has been one of the top World Music musicians in the world. Not only has he gained much recognition as an Iranian musician, having performed with Hossein Alizahdeh and Mohammad Reza Shajarian, but also being a pioneer in cross platform collaborations with YoYo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and also in duet with musicians like Indian Sitarist/Vocalist Shujaat Hussain Khan. Tonight’s duet concert with long-time collaborator Turkish baglama player Erdal Erzicanwas most enjoyable to any ear.
Date: May 13, 2018 Venue: The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland Review by F. Mactaggart
Photo by Adam Bulley
The sense of excitement is palpable as Scottish Trio HLK arrive briskly on stage at 8pm sharp, and persists undimmed until they take their modest final bows to the thrilled home crowd precisely two hours later. Such exactitude regarding time feels in keeping with a band whose music is predicated upon unrelenting changes particularly in time signature and tempo, a stuttering, gleeful symphony of polyrhythms and harmonic complexity.
ALJO…The Power of Activism and Jazz: Resisting an Oppressive National Political Culture
On Wednesday May 9, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestrakicked off a special five-city tour of California celebrating the power of activism and jazz in resistance to the oppressive national political culture currently taking shape in America..
Arturo O’Farrill and ALJO invited diverse communities throughout California to partake in their revolutionary musical movement propelled by the orchestra’s fiery big band compositions. Beginning on May 9, Stanford Live presented the West Coast debut of O’Farrill’s The Cornel West Concerto at Stanford University featuring Dr. Cornel West alongside ALJO. On May 12, O’Farrill headlined Radio-Active Resistance: A Benefit for KPFA FM and DACA Support Serviceswith opening acts Bobi Céspedes Band and the Son Jarocho All Stars at UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA. Additional ALJO performances included concerts at Mondavi Centerfor the Performing Arts (May 11), UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures @ Campbell Hall (May 17), and a rare Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (octet) performance at Bach Dynamite & Dancing Society in Half Moon Bay (May 13). ALJO concluded its California tour with a live recording on the San Diego – Tijuana border on location at the Fandango Fronterizo Festival, joining together with noted Son Jarocho artists from Veracruz, México, and other special guest artists drawing from various countries and musical genres.
A frightening melange of noise and military sounds, arrayed in a brilliantly executed series of loops, assaults those who listen to the first track, “Cosmic Dust.” Soon, a beat emerges and forms an inviting backdrop over which paints a picture of Cold War era Eastern Europe.