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Music reviews

Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter

02 ABC, Glasgow

Rob Adams

In a recent jazz magazine interview Gregory Porter felt moved to reaffirm his credentials as a jazz singer. There was really no need. The man who looks like becoming jazz's biggest break-out artist since, say, George Benson may call to mind soul singers, including Bill Withers, especially on the Porter-penned Real Good Hands, Donny Hathaway and Syl Johnson, and he may have scored a pop hit with his late-at-night-I-come-knockin'-on-your-door soliloquy, Hey Laura, but his music and his band are shot through with the spirit of jazz that creates music absolutely in the moment.

Porter has a big, rich voice - and he needs it, as his band is as muscular as they come. At times during this sold-out gig that ranged from a party to a Southern Baptist gospel prayer meeting to a rampant jazz jam it was almost like listening to Ray Charles fronting the classic John Coltrane Quartet.

They really do go for it, with alto-saxophonist Yosuke Sato blowing fluently beseeching, heart-emptying solos and pianist Chip Crawford playing with enormous physicality over the bass and drums team's emphatic but elastic presence.

It's Porter's show, though, and while the sound quality didn't exactly flatter anyone, his voice was commanding: gorgeously vulnerable on the aforementioned Laura; stoically defiant on a raging Work Song, with Sato taking the Cannonball Adderley role into the stratosphere; and quietly authoritative on Be Good, which wound up with Crawford bringing Chopin into the jazz canon.

And, as much as Porter delivered, he still had a whole lot left as he produced supreme ballad singing for the second encore, the lovely vocal-piano duet, Water Under Bridges.

Yes

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

Stuart Morrison

The recent press astonishment that a progressive rock album should chart, was predicated on the erroneous assumption that this genre had died out in 1976. One of its leading proponents, throughout the intervening decades, has been Yes bassist extraordinary, Chris Squire. So that it was appropriate that he should see a standing ovation given to almost everything he and his colleagues did for the duration of this, almost three-hour, show.

The band's seventies catalogue is in the midst of an overhaul, with Close To The Edge and The Yes Album having been reissued on Blu-ray etc and Going For The One being slated for this summer.

The show consisted of all three albums, played in the correct sequence and in their entirety. Of the original line up, or at least the one that recorded The Yes Album , only Chris Squire and guitarist Steve Howe remain, although the most important absence might have been that of Jon Anderson, so closely has his voice been associated with the band.

However, Jon Davison, after a shaky opening on Close To The Edge, gave a performance of such confidence and accuracy, that the iconic Anderson wasn't missed.

Close To The Edge was followed by Going For The One and they finished with The Yes Album. And You And I raised the same number of goose bumps as it did back in the day.

Parallels was mighty and Wonderous Stories suitably whimsical. But it was the Yes album which defined this band and Starship Troopers and I've Seen All Good People were superb. Howe's acoustic party piece, The Clap, too, was a special moment in a show that was full of them.

De La Soul

The Arches, Glasgow

Nicola Meighan

Everything about De La Soul's debut album, Three Feet High And Rising, was revolutionary. Its rotating neon artwork swapped hip-hop visual cliches (guns, girls) for graffiti garlanded with daisies, and the record's sampladelic rap followed suit: loved-up, cuddly, anti-drugs - and more concerned with talking squirrels, lawn maintenance and personal hygiene than it was with violence, fast cars or fast money.

Twenty-five years since its release, the album's sense of camaraderie and positive energy was re-charged in Glasgow as Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo - proudly still together after more than quarter of a century - bounded through a set in thrall to hippy hip-hop and the talismanic power of three (although a scuffle in the venue suggested one fan had dismissed the Long Island lotharios' peacenik vibes).

De La Soul had hits after Three Feet High And Rising, and revisited several of them live, including 1991's fanfare-toting Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) - arguably Curiosity Killed The Cat's greatest legacy - and freewheeling disco-funk wig-out A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays.

But the dayglo trio made much of taking their music "right back to the beginning", to their debut album, to their self-proclaimed Daisy Age, and that's where it shone brightest - from the yodelling jazz-pop of Potholes In My Lawn (its riff lifted from Eric Burdon and War's Magic Mountain), through their Hall and Oates sampling, anti-drugs missive Say No Go, to existential Funkadelic throwback Me Myself And I.

Buddy, meanwhile, sounded more like a De La Soul manifesto than ever ("De La Soul, from the soul, black medallions, no gold"), as did the Magic Number, which, incidentally, is still three. No more, no less.

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