Former pupil has last word at Jazz Awards
The Scottish Jazz Awards on Monday in Dirty Martini at Le Monde hotel, Edinburgh, revealed some surprising connections. The education award was presented to Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra founder Richard Michael by Scottish Jazz Federation chairman David Francis, and in his speech Michael noted that one of his pupils when he was a teacher in Cowdenbeath was a young music fan called Ian Rankin. The proto-writer's burning question then was the relative merits of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson as a keyboard player. Mr Michael pointed young Rankin in the direction of Oscar Peterson for a proper education.
Later it was the same Ian Rankin who announced the winner of the online poll to select the Best Jazz Album of 2013. The award went to Fife octet Das Contras, half of whom are graduates of Michael's orchestral jazz academy, and who paid tribute to his mentoring. Rankin praised his old teacher and the organisers of the event, which ran like clockwork. "Very slick, especially for jazz," said the novelist-turned-playwright.