Perpetual Motion Machine is a six-piece group, recently selected as ambassadors for Jazz North’s prestigious Northern Line scheme. Its members might be familiar to audiences in the region, but the PMM project represents a bold departure for all involved and the prospect of a live experience like no other. With an unusual line-up of twin tenor saxophones, twin guitars, bass, and drums, the Machine creates a cinemascope sound that surrounds the listener. The power of PMM comes not from sheer volume, but from the breadth (stylistic and spatial) of its sources. Rock, free improvisation, spoken word, and bebop coexist in this exciting new music, crafted by artists who embrace these traditions in all their variety and depth.
Riley Stone-Lonergan, Ben Lowman – tenor saxophones, bass clarinet
The music of Egberto Gismonti is like a microcosm of his native Brazil – diverse, joyful, and unique. Award winning jazz pianist Paul Harrison, bassist Mario Lima Caribe and drummer Stu Brown have a special rapport from years of performing together in Scotland and internationally. In this new trio they bring fresh life to great compositions that deserve to be heard more widely, with all new arrangements that turn the songs into vehicles for spirited improvisation, full of texture, surprise and feeling. Some are romantic and film-score like, others celebrations of carnival rhythms that will (literally) move you, these are melodies that you’ll find yourself singing for a long time afterwards, and a musical experience that will stay with you.
Scotland’s premier jazzman and arguably one of the world’s best sax players always draws a big crowd of fans to the Blue Lamp. It’s been a few years since he appeared with his own quartet but this year Tommy Smith launches a new band, the Tommy Smith Quartet: Embodying the Light.
On February 2, Smith and his new quartet went into the studio to record his first acoustic quartet album since 2005. Entitled Embodying the Light, the album will mark Smith’s 50 th birthday and the 50 the anniversary of the death of one of his greatest inspirations, John Coltrane. It features Coltrane compositions including Naima, Dear Lord and Resolution and music associated with Coltrane alongside Smith compositions written in homage to Coltrane. The new group features Tommy alongside one of the UK’s leading young piano talents, Pete Johnstone, a former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year and winner, with the group Square One, of the 2015 Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize. Bassist Calum Gourlay is a young veteran of gigs with Sheila Jordan, Scott Hamilton and The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and Sebastiaan de Krom has been the drumming powerhouse behind Herbie Hancock and Jamie Cullum. Smith has been a presence on the world jazz scene since his teenage years. At the age of nineteen he was touring internationally with Gary Burton’s Whiz Kids quintet and three years later he signed to the legendary jazz label Blue Note. He has since gone on to establish and direct the internationally acclaimed Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and he regularly tours the world with Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen’s trio, widely regarded as one of the premier groups working in jazz today.
Paul Booth is one of the most exciting and in demand musicians on the scene today. Although a very prominent figure on the jazz scene with an album released on the Jazzizit label and his latest album “No Looking Back” on the Basho label, his versatility has seen him play in many musical genres. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London from the age of 16 and graduated with honours at the age of 20. In his early years he won many awards including the prestigious Clifford Brown/Stan Getz fellowship held in Miami, “The Best Modern Jazz Player” category in the televised “Young Jazz Player of the Year” competition and many more. Paul is currently part of the Steve Winwood band and has performed worldwide with the likes of Eric Clapton, Matt Bianco, Basia, Tony Hadley, Eddie Henderson, Alex Wilson, Roberto Pla, Tim Garland, Snowboy, Ray Gelato and Jane Monheit. He is a regular at Ronnie Scotts jazz club in London but tonight returns to the Lamp for what will undoubtedly be a rousing performance.
Steve Kettley’s Orange Claw Hammer is a band of fine musicians with a desire to enjoy, share and play with the music of Captain Beefheart. Deeply rhythmic and rooted in the blues before spiralling off into free association, their music is a wondrous cacophony of finely tuned chaos. Even though the vast majority of the music is instrumental, much like Beefheart’s contemporary Frank Zappa, there’s a humour at play, a desire to stimulate and titillate through complex offbeat grooves and a clatter of noise. It’s a wonderful, exhilarating recreation of Beefheart’s experimentations, improvised and reinterpreted by Kettley and his quartet.
“OCH are fabulous! Of all the things I saw in the Edinburgh Festival the stand out performance was OCH in a cellar bar, the band is tight. OCH are a brilliant set of musicians with a love of Beefheart. It is part homage, part wild eyed evening of grand riffs and virtuoso playing.” Mark Thomas, comedian/activist.
Saxophone giant Phil Bancroft returns to the Lamp, from the top-flight of Scottish music, Phil has been at the heart of the Scottish scene for over 20 years, with bands like the John Rae Collective,Trio AAB, Celtic Feet, Stramash, and long-term collaborators Reid Anderson, Thomas Stronen, Mike Walker, Graeme Stephen and Aidan O’Rourke. His authentic saxophone voice speaks to the heart of the music, creating top-flight contemporary jazz that is fun, passionate, inspiring and illuminating. Rumour has it that advance copies of his long-awaited album release may be on sale tonight. Miss it at your peril.
“As good as anything coming out of New York…” Penguin Guide To Jazz Recordings
Arild Andersen – Rose Window Trio & Kirsten Bråten Berg
Arild Andersen is a renowned musician both in his homeland of Norway and internationally and is no stranger to the Blue Lamp where he has played with his trio including Tommy Smith and Paulo Vinaccia. This time he brings a completely different group which includes vocalist Kirsten Bråten Berg. Arild Andersen met Kirsten for the first time in 1989 to perform the commission work “Sagn” for Vossajazz in 1990. In the band was Nana Vasconcelos, perc; Bendik Hofseth, sax; Bugge Wesseltoft ,piano and Frode Alnæs, guitar. This band recorded two albums “Sagn” and “ Arv” The last one with Eivind Aarset on guitar and Paolo Vinaccia on additional percussion and played concerts in New York , Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and also around Europe and Scandinavia. Over the years Kirsten Bråten Berg and Arild kept contact and did several concerts with different settings and a lot of duo concerts and have now formed a new group which includes Arild’s trio Rose Window with Kirsten on vocals. The music is based on folk music from Setesdal and Telemark, and from the west coast of Norway. Songs that Eduard Grieg used in his compositions and arrangements.