iPlayer Radio What's New?
Playing: Quartet for piano and strings No.3 (Op.60) "Werther" in C minor by Johannes Brahms
Image for Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra

1 hour, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 18 February 2013

"Trade shoes with the person on your right" and "Play in the style that would be appropriate to accompany a belly dance" - not the usual sorts of instructions to give to a big band, but Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra were certainly up to the challenges presented by Jim O'Rourke's specially commissioned piece.

The work was one of two new commissions by American composers premiered at the fifth edition of GIO's annual festival. Celebrating their tenth anniversary, the orchestra's ever-ambitious and outward-looking approach comes across in these specially composed pieces by two stalwarts of Chicago's rich avant-garde tradition. Guest conductor and trombone player George Lewis first presents Tractatus - a detailed score exploring the difference between 'artistic' and 'everyday' improvisation, a distinction he explains in conversation with interviewer Brian Morton. The second commission - sent by Jim O'Rourke from his current home of Tokyo - is very different, consisting of two decks of playing cards on which are written instructions for the various members of the orchestra. The directions prompt - in the words of saxophonist and founding GIO leader Raymond MacDonald - a "negotiation between the individual and what's written on the card" and produced an exciting and unusual performance from the group. Listen out for shoes in the piano, manic trumpet fanfares, an impromptu round of drinks and a short lecture on haggis!

Presenter: Jez Nelson
Producers: Peggy Sutton & Phil Smith.

Music Played

8 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • New Release

    • Image for Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and the London Vocal Project

      Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and the London Vocal Project Humpty Dumpty

      Composer: Kenny Wheeler

      Mirrors, Edition Records

  • Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra recorded at Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow on 1 December 2012

    • Line-up: Una MacGlone (double bass); Raymond MacDonald (saxophone); Gerry Rossi (piano); Nicole McNeilly (trombone); Emma Roche (flute); Rick Bamford (drums); Robert Henderson (trumpet);

    • Graeme Wilson (saxophone); Neil Davidson (guitar); George Burt (guitar); Peter Nicholson (cello); George Murray (trombone); Liene Rozite (flute); Nicola MacDonald (melodica/voice);

    • George Lyle (double bass); Armin Sturm (double bass); Stuart Brown (drums/percussion); Aileen Campbell (voice); Fergus Kerr (french horn); Anne Rankin (oboe); Jim McEwan (keyboards);

    • Matthew Studdert-Kennedy (flute); Catriona McKay (harp); George Lewis (trombone); Maggie Nicols (voice); Sue McKenzie (saxophone)

    • Image for Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra

      Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra Tractatus

      Composer: George Lewis

    • Image for Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra

      Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra Some I Know, Some I Don't

      Composer: Jim O'Rourke

  • A Tribute to Donald Byrd

    • Image for Donald Byrd

      Donald Byrd Flight Time

      Composer: Larry Mizell

      Black Byrd, Blue Note

  • Playing Cards

    Playing Cards

  • George Lewis conducts Tractatus

    George Lewis conducts Tractatus


Read the Jazz on 3 Blog

a typewriter

Discover more about the musicians and performances included in each episode of Jazz on 3.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss