Classical review: Scottish Jazz Awards, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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“IN SO many ways, Scotland punches well above its weight,” remarked singer and comedian Ian Shaw as he compered last night’s Scottish Jazz Awards ceremony. “And I’m not talking about Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday night.”

He was referring to the inordinately vigorous Scottish jazz scene, which was turned out in its best bib and tucker and more interested in throwing a party than any punches. There were occasional elements of panto, thanks to Shaw’s drolleries and some dramatic interjections from the “house band” of pianist Brian Kellock, double-bassist Mario Caribe and drummer Corrie Dick.

Among the 12 award categories, vocalist of the year went to Carol Kidd MBE. Saxophonist Julian Argüelles was instrumentalist of the year, while fellow saxophonist Tommy Smith’s group recording Karma collected album of the year, while Smith also won the education award. A lifetime recognition award went to Ronnie Rae Senior, veteran double-bassist, mentor and patriarch of an entire jazz clan, while this year’s “emerging artist” was the busy young bassist, Euan Burton.

There were some impressive saxophone interludes when the house band was joined firstly by Smith, then by another previous young winner, Ruaridh Pattison, later joined by bassist Andrew Robb, pianist Alan Benzie and drummer Dick in a limber Ornette Coleman blues. In the absence of Kidd, Shaw came up with a typically ebullient I Thought of You, while trumpeter Ryan Quigley joined Kellock and company to raise some desert dust in Caravan.

Rating: ****

• For the full award list, see http://www.scottishjazzfederation.com