In an “everyone knows everyone” town such as St. Andrews, famed for its awkward meetings in Tesco and Starbucks, the Masquerade Ball provided the opportunity, for one evening at least, to slip under the veil of anonymity. Held in the sweeping grounds of Lower College Lawn, the secret and clandestine nature of the Ball promised a night of fun for all.
Gregory Porter is the hottest new thing to hit the Jazz & Soul scene. Rising to fame with the hit '1960 What?' from the debut album Water, Porter has already collaborated with some of the biggest names in jazz at the moment – Nicolas Conte and The Rongetz Foundation – all in the space of 15 months. Where has this jazz explosion that is Gregory Porter come from?
Blueswater, eclectic lovechild of old school R&B, blues, funk, soul, rock ‘n’ roll – to list just a few – is a heady mix of slick lyrics and slicker transitions. The 11 piece band has already established itself on the St Andrews-Edinburgh music scene with highly rated regular gigs at Aikman’s, ramping up the tempo at events such as the sell out Masquerade Ball, and loosening up the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Friday 1st June saw the launch of their self titled first album, but how well does a band which stakes so much on its stage presence translate digitally?
I discovered jazz last year when I happened to catch Jamie Cullum’s jazz hour on BBC Radio 2, as it echoed through my family kitchen during dinner. I couldn’t name the songs or artists, nor could I sing along, but every week I’d tune in and cook whilst listening to Cullum interview new jazz musicians from across the world. A year later, and I still never miss a show.
St Andrews is a pretty hard place to keep anything a secret – whether it’s a house party on Market Street or your hook-up from the Lizard – and yet some things just seem to slip under the radar of students.
Electro-swing would not usually be my music of choice. However, after getting involved in this year’s Masquerade and having to sift through mix after electro-swing mix to find the music that fits the event, I’ve encountered some pretty cool stuff. Sound Assembly is a perfect example. This three-piece from Lancaster manage to create a unique sultry-swing sound in their mixes and bring incredible energy to their live performances. Having performed all over Europe, as well as frequently supporting The Masquerade’s headline act, The Correspondents, Sound Assembly are a force to be reckoned with in the world of electro-swing. We had a quick catch up with them to see what they’ve been up to…