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 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.
And the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Cappella Nova
Date: December 17, 2017
Venue: St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland
Review and photographs by Fiona Mactaggart
Rugged up against the bone-chilling cold in the Scottish capital’s visually and acoustically impressive St Mary’s Cathedral, the full-house audience seem aware they are in for something special. The two-part concert begins with a clear as ice spoken introduction from esteemed New York – based jazz singer and previous collaborator with Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO), Kurt Elling. With appropriate gravitas, Elling explains that this concert will be “a modern meditation on the delirium that visits us at this season”, and that it would be no regular jazz gig.
Date: October 8, 2017
Venue: Galway Jazz Festival (Ireland)
Review by Fiona Mactaggart (Photograph by sus)
An award for ‘friendliest festival’ might well go to the Galway Jazz Festival, this 4-day long event utilizing an eclectic range of venues and heaving with musical treasures. Tonight the venue is an up-market restaurant, the musical fare a veritable aural banquet offered by the new trio of pianist-extraordinaire, Simon Nabatov.
Venue: Black Gate Club at the Galway Jazz Festival (Eire)
Date: October 5th, 2017
Review by Fiona Mactaggart
The subdued lighting of the basement venue is well suited to this thoughtful and measured set, the small space only intensifying the calming effect of the delicate and beautiful melodies traced by pianist Tuomas A Turunen over a web spun by drummer and band leader, Emil Brandqvist.