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Ken Mathieson: Classic Jazz Redefined

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Though the veteran drummer, arranger and bandleader Ken Mathieson shouldn't be confused with his fellow namesake the critic Kenny Mathieson, he's also a very articulate jazz thinker based in their native Scotland.

Ken began as a schoolboy drummer, and when still very young lived for a couple of years in Brazil and worked in Sao Paolo clubs thirty years ago. A gigging drummer in a variety of settings, and sometime jazz festival organiser, he has been arranging for a long time. The otherwise all-American band he wrote for and was to tour Europe with fell foul of post-1989 German economic problems, but before that his work was toured far and wide by Fat Sam's Band, an initially bistro-based Scottish ensemble programmed around Louis Jordan inspired R&B, and extending into the swing repertoire many 1940s sidemen had played earlier. Check their excellent website.

In 1994 Ken organised a septet to perform a Buck Clayton/ Buddy Tate programme, in his own realisations, for a smaller Scottish jazz festival (Dundee). The music and the band were revived at the 2002 Edinburgh International Jazz Festival, including one Dickie Wells item which orchestrated Wells's wonderfully individual Wells trombone style brilliantly.

In early 2004 Ken got to discussing with Roger Spence of Assembly Direct (Scotland's National Jazz Impresario) the need and advantages of a professional-standard band in Scotland to re-interpret what he has come to call Classic Jazz.


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