Help Me I'm Melting celebrates 100 sessions with a big band blow-out

Help Me I'm Melting celebrates 100 sessions with a big band blow-out

Jer Reid and Raymond MacDonald / credit: Mhairi Muir

With the Glasgow improvised music session reaching a significant milestone, saxophonist Tony Bevan fills us in on what's in store

Improvisation may be one of the least understood aspects of music, but since saxophonist Tony Bevan started regular improv sessions Help Me I'm Melting in 2016, he's been bringing in familiar faces from the jazz, improv and experimental music scenes to make brand new, bespoke music for audiences in search of something a little different.

Among the performers have been such master musicians as Richard Youngs, Neil Davison, Jer Reid, Fritz Welch, Kim Moore, Luke Sutherland, Raymond MacDonald, Bill Whitmer, Una McGlone, Mike Parr Burnam, Howie Reeve, Ailbe Nic Oireichtag and Adam Campbell, as well as eminent visitors such as Eddie Prévost, Joe Morris and Jeb Bishop. 'We've had players from America,' Bevan says, 'the best of British improvisers, and a fantastic selection of local players. It's been great, and a nice relaxed, friendly atmosphere.'

Bevan emphasises that performers are drawn from all types of music; this isn't going to be a jazz gig. 'Nowadays people from all types of music (classical, Noise, rock … ) are happy to improvise together. Makes it interesting!'

Sat 28 December is the 100th Help Me I'm Melting, and Bevan is promising something special: a big band session with many of his regular collaborators (including The List's own Stewart Smith). Improvisation is tricky. One person alone can be mellifluous; two requires coordination; three is a tightrope walk; any more than that, and you generally need some sort of manual. How's it going to work? 'Well, there's a number of strategies you can use – conduction (gestures), graphic scores, written directions (signs). I'll probably use a mix of everything. AS long as the musicians pay attention it'll work!'

Any clue as to who will be playing? 'I'm not going to release a list, but we've over twenty other players, all of whom have played a Melting before – all kinds of instruments (drums, guitars, electronics, saxophones, bassists, singers … ) you'll just have to come along! It'll be fun, and there are some really great players involved.'

Help Me I'm Melting is at Old Hairdressers, Glasgow on Sat 28 Dec.

Tony Bevan: Help Me I'm Melting!

Improv session led by sax player Tony Bevan.

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