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Shetland Improvisers Orchestra: First Steps (FMR)

The 1st release from this collective directed by Raymond MacDonald on sax and George Burt on drums (GIO), presenting work from workshop sessions and a complete set from the 2012 Glasgow Improvisers Festival, 6 unique and sometimes eccentric works, including a piece for Lol Coxhill.

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product information:

UPC: 0616932200526

Label: FMR
Catalog ID: FMR 362-0913
Squidco Product Code: 18468

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2013
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in 2011 and 2012 over a series of workshops.

Track 1: First Workshop Session, Town Hall, Lerwick, September 2011.

Tracks 2 to 4: Shetland Jazz Festival, Town Hall, Lerwick, June 2012.

Track 5: For Lol Session, Islesburgh Centre, Lerwick, September 2012.

Track 6: Glasgow Improvisers Festival 2012, Contemporary Arts Centre, Glasgow, December 2012.


Raymond MacDonald-alto saxophone

George Burt-guitar

Jeff Merrifield-trumpet

Max Tyler-trumpet

Norman Willmore-alto saxophone

David Marsh-percussion

Peter Keay-electric bass

Douglas Stephenson-drums

Drew Garrick-trumpet

Jill Slee Blackadder-voice

Hayden Hook-doublebass

Steve Chitty-soprano saxophone

Elizabeth Garrick-percussion

Armin Sturm-doublebass

Lewis Hall-piano

Dave Hamilton-electric violin

Clair Aldington-recorders

Graeme Wilson-baritone saxophone

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Artist Biographies:

"Raymond MacDonald co-leads The Burt/MacDonald Quartet and is a founder member and key player in The Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. He also performs with The Scottish Jazz Composers Ensemble and the saxophone quartet Rich in Knuckles. He has recently collaborated Lol Coxhill, Keith Tippett, Harry Beckett, Evan Parker, Gunter Baby Sommer, Fred Frith, Keith Rowe, George Lewis, Maggie Nicols, Satoko Fujii, Ken Hyder, Natsuki Tamura, Steve Beresford, Mike Zerang, and Fred Longberg-holm.

Other work includes composing and performing for film, television, theatre and collaborations with visual artists, including commissioned work for Martin Boyce, Simon Starling and Christine Borland. He collaborated with David Byrne on David McKenzie's film Young Adam.

In December 2005 he made a solo tour of Japan and in July 2006 performed with Josh Abrams and Miguel Carvalhais at The Glasgow International Jazz festival."

-Creative Sources (

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"George Burt is a guitarist and composer based in Falkirk. Early experience includes playing in folk groups, ceilidh bands, pit bands, and mainstream and Trad jazz groups. He has devised a number of works for GIO including Improcherto (for HB) which GIO performed at the 2011 Gateshead Jazz Festival.

He ran a series of improvisation workshops in the 90s, and this eventually led to the formation of the George Burt/Raymond MacDonald Quartet (BMacD). The group was described by the Penguin Guide to Jazz as the leading partnership on the modern/free scene in Scotland, making impressive international associations. These included Harry Beckett, Keith Tippett and Lol Coxhill. The group's crowning achievement is a pair of concept albums celebrating the lives of the Victorian traveller Isabella Bird and her sister Henrietta. He has been lucky enough to perform with a number of his favourite musicians; Barry Guy, Julie Tippetts and Mat Maneri, as well as his two favourite guitarists, Susan Alcorn and Bill Wells."

-Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (

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Armin Sturm is a bassist and composer, a member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.

-Discogs (

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"Graeme Wilson is a saxophonist & composer based in Newcastle in the north of England. His previous years on the jazz scene in Glasgow included work with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Bill Wells Octet and The Delgados. As a composer he has produced scores for large and small ensembles, particularly written work for saxophone quartet. He has been a leading member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra in their recordings, international performances and collaborations with, among others, Fred Frith, Evan Parker and Barry Guy, and has contributed improvised interactions and soundtracks for artists' video work including Gair Dunlop and Dan Norton's interactive archive film site The Tomorrows Project at the Commonwealth Film Festival, and Cath Keay's Silkmoths. Recent work includes a textual score performed by GIO and Gunther Sommer's Dresden ensemble, a commission for saxophone ensemble for An Tobar Arts Centre on Mull, and improvisations responding to oral history from archives in the North-East at Culture Lab in Newcastle."

-Creative Sources (

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track listing:

1. First Recording 5:08

2. The Shetland Year 10:48

3. More Than a Sum of the Parts 7:13

4. River of Light 6:25

5. For Lol 8:26

6. The Glasgow Concert 33:12
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Shetland Improvisers Orchestra grew out of a series of workshop sessions where we worked with Raymond MacDonald and George Burt. This is the group's first CD and features some of the work that grew out of the workshops as well as pieces played at Shetland Jazz Festival and a complete set from Glasgow Improvisers Festival. There is also a tribute piece dedicated to Lol Coxhill recorded the day after he passed away. These are Shetland Improvisers' first steps."-FMR

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Free Improvisation
FMR Records

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