Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra with George Burt and Susan Alcorn
- Stewart Smith
- 3 June 2010
Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, led by saxophonist Raymond MacDonald, can always be relied upon to add some experimental intrigue to the largely classicist Jazz Festival, and this year sees them develop their relationship with Baltimore pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn. Taking the instrument far beyond its country and western roots, Alcorn brings elements of free-jazz, modern classical and Indian ragas to her playing. In addition to performing with GIO, Alcorn will be reprising her duo with guitarist George Burt.
‘I remember thinking it was quite loud, dense and busy,’ says Burt of last year’s GIO Fest set, ‘but listening back to it now there are substantial passages of very delicate, almost oriental atmospheres, with a lot of contrast between the sustain of the pedal steel and the decay of the electric guitar. Susan is a composer also, and her work is suffused with a very delicate concern with melody and sustained and reflective moods. So the plan at the moment is to play some of her stuff, maybe some other pre-composed things as well some improvised pieces’. The duo hope to have a collaborative CD ready for the gig.
The concert will also feature the premier of a new piece by GIO’s German double bassist Armin Sturm, inspired by the life cycle of insects. ‘It takes GIO’s approach to large ensemble improvisation into new areas,’ adds MacDonald.
The following evening sees the Burt-MacDonald Quintet team up with the great avant-garde English pianist Keith Tippetts, to perform new material and spontaneous compositions.