Edinburgh’s Playtime Collective is venturing into international live-streaming sessions with its latest programme of concerts, writes Rob Adams.
Prevented from streaming from their temporary home in Pathhead Village Hall due to Covid-19 restrictions, the core Playtime quartet of saxophonist Martin Kershaw, guitarist Graeme Stephen, bassist Mario Caribe and drummer Tom Bancroft have reverted to streaming from their own homes – with special guests from as far away as New York and Boston as well as closer to home.
Included in the new Playtime programme, which sees the sessions move to a new Friday evening slot, are American pianist David Berkman, Dutch saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra and trumpeter Laura Jurd. Vibraphonist Corey Mwamba and saxophonists Iain Ballamy and Raymond MacDonald complete the line-up.
“We’re determined to keep the music flowing and to keep bringing in new ideas,” says Bancroft. “We were able to promote a Playtime Presents series in the run up to Christmas, where we gave other bands and musicians the night to themselves. But we wanted to try something different again to keep giving our audience – and us! – new experiences and collaborating with musicians who are hundreds – in some cases thousands – of miles away is certainly a different experience.”
The six musicians in the latest series all have links with Scotland, David Berkman having worked quite extensively with players including Bancroft over the past twenty years and continuing an occasional concert and recording partnership with saxophonist Laura Macdonald when time and travel restrictions allow.
“Jorrit has played with my orchestra in Edinburgh and Iain, who’s half-Scottish, is a friend from back in the Wavendon Summer School days of the early 1980s,” says Bancroft. “Laura Jurd has worked very successfully with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and with Fergus McCreadie’s trio. Raymond is Scottish, of course, and Corey has worked a lot with Raymond through the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. We didn’t just choose them because we knew them, though. We chose them because they’re all great players and we thought they might be amenable to trying the journey into the unknown, for us, that is long-distance streaming.”
The new series begins on Friday, January 29, when David Berkman guests from a different time zone, and continues with Jorrit Dijkstra, on February 5.
Laura Jurd appears on February 12, with Iain Ballamy following on February 19, Raymond MacDonald (February 26) and Corey Mwamba (March 5).
Full details are available at www.playtime-music.com.