Good Vibrations: Gary Burton at the London Jazz Festival

Gary Burton Quartet and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra – Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (November 17, 2010) Like any well-prepared host, vibes maestro Gary Burton brought two courses to the table. The appetiser was a small group set. Introduced pointedly as a “new quartet”, this freshly-prepared line up gigged for the first time just months ago. Opening with standard Afro Blue, Burton’s trademark four-pronged approach lent the deliciously relaxed set a fairground-like charm, tempered by guitarist Julian Lage’s impassioned attack. Standing where Pat Metheny once did, Lage’s remarkable solo work saw him repeating short, sharp phrases with fiery intensity. A … Continue reading Good Vibrations: Gary Burton at the London Jazz Festival

Gods and Monsters: Gary Lucas’ journey from Jeff Buckley to Dracula

As guitar maverick Gary Lucas prepares to perform a live movie soundtrack at the Glasgow Film Festival, he opens up to Rob Garratt about his love of horror – and his relationship with iconic singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. The first thing I noticed about Gary Lucas, as he bustled through the door into our meeting room – early – was the sheer amount of stuff he was carrying. Clutching a guitar case large enough for a cello, dragging an oversized suitcase and held upright by a ragged sports satchel, the pork pie hat atop his head completed the picture of an … Continue reading Gods and Monsters: Gary Lucas’ journey from Jeff Buckley to Dracula

Scattered thoughts on seeing Sonny Rollins blow live – aged 80 – at The Barbican

The overused superlative “endless flow of ideas” dwarfs into a meaningless cliché after hearing Sonny Rollins’ torrential bombardment of sax. Notes cascaded out of the giant’s towering tenor, swelling to climax after climax, ears overflowing with peaks like water dashing … Continue reading Scattered thoughts on seeing Sonny Rollins blow live – aged 80 – at The Barbican