Raymond MacDonald

Improcherto | Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra

Iorram Iorram records releases small and handmade editions of

improvised and experimental music.


IMPROCHERTO (for HB), Composed by George Burt

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra,


Recorded live at The Sage during The Gateshead International Jazz Festival, 27th March 2011 by Jim McEwan.


This is GIO in celebratory mode, digging into the roots of British improvised music and free jazz with two of the music’s greatest exponents, Lol Coxhill and Evan Parker, and remembering with affection Harry Beckett and the bubbling joy of his trumpet playing. Saxophonist John Burgess, who played in Harry Beckett’s band for many years, is also strongly featured.


The piece takes off from the jazz big-band tradition of switching between virtuosic solo passages and ensemble playing. An extra dimension is that the ensemble passages are sometimes shaped by conductors using hand signals and body language to try to push the music in particular directions.


Different traditions of improvised music are brought together by the contributions of a variety of soloists and “conductors”. The form of the piece is sketched in pencilled symbols on post-it notes which were distributed to the band and the audience before the performance.


What unfolds is a constant musical dialogue as conductors, ensemble and soloists negotiate George Burt’s unique, playful and meticulously developed score. The result is a joyous celebration of large-group improvising and the utterly distinctive and much-loved trumpet playing of Harry Beckett.