Arturo Tappin:

The Horn of Plenty


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Arturo Tappin didn't actually play Sonny Rollins' St Thomas on Friday. He didn't have to because the spirit of Rollins' Caribbean carnival - and indeed of Rollins' storytelling improvisational saxophone style - ran through this opening session of Tappin's first Fringe residency like rum through a Bajan punch.

Tappin promised to bring a taste of Barbados on his first return to Edinburgh since he appeared at the city's jazz festival in 1988 and he delivered with music that oozed sunshine and class. His tenor saxophone playing carries proof that he absorbed early lessons from the masters: as well as Rollins there are hints of soul preachers including Cannonball Adderley, Hank Crawford and Tappin's early hero, Grover Washington Jnr. These have all been distilled into a fluent musical personality, however, whose biggest characteristic is Tappin's own.

He's a soulful player who unleashes a whole heap of big toned blues, even on lighter numbers such as his jokey calypso for Estefan the banjo man.

With his regular bassist, Marius Charlemagne linking local keyboardist Dave Patrick and drummer David Carnegie with conspicuous, grooving assurance, he swung the Outhouse audience through a marvellous set that paid homage to Bob Marley and Roberta Flack and even rendered Pharrell Williams' ubiquitous Happy as a fresh and decidedly summery slice of jazz, Barbados style.

Run ends August 24

 Tshwane Gospel Choir

Assembly George Square

There's a serious message at the heart of this boundlessly energetic, uplifting show and it's delivered with a sincerity and concern that's just as palpable as the joy that's conveyed in the songs of praise that surround it. Africans, it says, are all part of the same continent and the schoolgirls who were taken from their families in Nigeria earlier this year should be restored immediately. It may be a hopeful prayer that proves ineffective but it's a poignant moment in a set that's full of hope and superbly coordinated, a live wire movement. To the polished, inventive grooves of their accompanying musicians the singing and dancing cast pay homage to musical heroes as well as the Lord, casting an infectious, feelgood spell that glows well after they've taken their leave.

Run ends August 25

Boris & Sergey's Astonishing Freakatorium

Underbelly Cowgate

There's much mirth and no little genial madness to be found in this cross between a bonkers parlour game and a macabre puppet ballet.

The cast set themselves quite a challenge in following their loopy introduction and succeed with the audience's help in rewriting a script acted out by puppeteers, whose two main protagonists have a good line in ready wit.

An unlikely cock-fight, a water tank escape that's not quite up to Houdini's standards and a séance to solve an 80-year-old murder that took place in this very venue ensue in an hour

Run ends August 24