Guitarist Kevin Mackenzie and pianists Brian Kellock (photo below), Dave Milligan and Fergus McCreadie are among the musicians due to feature in a new series of livestreams organised by the Edinburgh Playtime collective.
Beginning this Thursday 3 September, Playtime Presents sees the collective giving guests a platform to play their own music as well as featuring concerts by the Playtime quartet themselves. The events will be staged at Pathhead Village Hall, just outside Edinburgh, and streamed on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch TV.
The new programme follows an experimental series of livestreams featuring the Playtime musicians in various configurations, initially working from their respective homes.
“We took a while to get to grips with the whole livestreaming thing,” says drummer Tom Bancroft, who lives in Pathhead and who negotiated with the village hall committee for the safe use of the venue. “We’d lose connections or the service would go down completely and it wasn’t ideal in terms of having people paying to listen to the music or in terms of us working together successfully.”
As it became clear that returning to playing music together to an audience in the same room might be months away, Bancroft and his colleagues decided to persevere. Bancroft’s local village hall offered an ideal solution and with social distancing between the musicians and the sound and filming personnel, over the summer Playtime’s Thursday livestreams became established.
“Bringing in other musicians is a natural progression and has been part of our ethos pretty much since we began Playtime in 2014,” says Bancroft. “Over that time, we’ve had quite a number of guests joining the core line-up and since the four of us can’t always guarantee being available every week it makes sense to give other musicians the chance to play on our stage, if you like.”
The Playtime sessions began as a way for Bancroft, saxophonist Martin Kershaw, guitarist Graeme Stephen and bassist Mario Caribe to try out new ideas and play new compositions in a relaxed, informal situation. Initially playing weekly in the loft of The Outhouse in Broughton Street Lane, just round the corner from Edinburgh’s tram city centre terminus, the quartet built a loyal following.
As well as playing their own material, they have paid tributes to Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny, to name just a few of the heroes whose music the quartet has honoured, and invited musicians both from the Scottish scene and from touring projects to join them. Latterly the live sessions moved to a regular fortnightly basis.
Playtime Presents begins with guitarist Kevin Mackenzie’s trio, featuring bassist Caribe and drummer Alyn Cosker. Pianist Dave Milligan, another Pathhead resident, joins Kershaw, Caribe and Bancroft on 10 September and pianist Fergus McCreadie’s trio follows on 17 September. The Playtime quartet presents an evening of new compositions on Thursday 24 September, Veteran Scottish singer Fionna Duncan and pianist Brian Kellock play an intimate duo set on Thursday 1 October, and further concerts are being added.
The concerts are available to view live for a suggested donation of £10 and they can be accessed on Facebook, Twitch TV or YouTube (search for Playtime Live).
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