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Arts / Trio of music improvisers to head north for workshop and concert

Professor Raymond MacDonald.

A MUSIC improvisation workshop and concert is being held in Lerwick this coming weekend, with three experienced performers heading north to Shetland to take part.

Saxophonist Raymond MacDonald, who is a professor and chair of music psychology and improvisation at the University of Edinburgh, will be involved.

He will be joined by George Burt, who is a long-serving member of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and Maria Sappho, a Puerto Rican American currently working as an improviser, artist and researcher in the UK.

Shetland musicians will be able to take part in a music improv workshop at Islesburgh in Lerwick on Saturday (18 March) at 2pm, with a concert then taking place that evening in the same venue.

The workshop is open to all styles, all genres, all levels and all ages.

It is the latest event to be put on this year by Shetland Jazz and World Sounds.

Promoter Jeff Merrifield said: “When I trained as an art teacher, I studied Jackson Pollock and other abstract expressionists.

“When I painted in that style, people said in a derogative way ‘Ooow! I could do that’. Indeed, they could. But they didn’t.

“When people asked Pollock what his painting meant, what it was supposed to represent, he answered that it meant he had dribbled paint on a canvas and when he liked it, he stopped dribbling. It is exactly what it is. Improvisation is the same.

“It is people making sounds on instruments, not trying to play someone else’s work by reading dots on a score. It’s a different mentality, but one that has its own validity.”

Tickets for the workshop and concert can be booked online.

The group’s last gig was a well-received homecoming show for saxophonist Norman Willmore.

‘A rising star in the jazz firmament of not just Scotland’

Other names due to be brought to Shetland later this year include Julian Nicolas, Asaf Sirkis, Mo Nazam, Henry Lowther and Sidiki Dembele.

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