Celtic Connections review: Andrew Wasylyk, The Blue Arrow, Glasgow

A packed live jazz bar below street level on a Sauchiehall Street on Friday night was about as far as it was possible to imagine from the conditions in which Dundee musician Andrew Wasylyk’s third album The Paralian was created. The results of a residency at the historic Hospitalfield arts centre near Arbroath, the music explores the relationship between the land and sea along the Angus coast.

Andrew Wasylyk

Celtic Connections review: Andrew Wasylyk, The Blue Arrow, Glasgow ****

Playing a Celtic Connections show to celebrate the launch of the record, Wasylyk (real name Andrew Mitchell) has done enough with those three albums to ensure that no one thinks of his other job as Idlewild’s bassist as his main gig in music. With a full band around him, the exclusively instrumental music he performed from The Paralian was dense and atmospheric, bathed in reverb-heavy cello, gentle electric piano, whispering cymbals and a brass duo on trumpet and trombone.

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The effect of the last two instruments and the electric piano, in particular, gave a sense of ’70s funk played through a pastoral filter, lending warmth and a sense of hangover elegia to this blend of mature jazz and indie folk.

Wasylyk dedicated Flight of the Cormorant to the late Michael Marra, with whom he played while in the Hazey Janes, and emphasised his ability with lyrical song through an encore of tracks from earlier album Soroky.

With support from Alasdair Roberts and Stephen Pastel, and Kathryn Joseph watching from the audience, the sense is that Wasylyk’s strong catalogue has moved him into a similar league as such peers. - David Pollock