The Scotsman

Savourna Stevenson
Tusitala, teller of tales

Savourna Stevenson’s new CD, Tusitala ( Eclectic Records ) features Savourna’s music for Stevenson’s Travels, the BBC production on the Life of Robert Louis Stevenson, and serves as confirmation that in compiling and arranging these beguiling themes she rose triumphantly to what must have been a fairly daunting challenge. It’s a lovely album, full of delightful, bobbing, swaying tunes that appropriately bridge the Atlantic gap by the skilful melding of jazz and Scots motifs. The Clyde to California sequence, originally commissioned by the River Tweed Festival, finds Aly Bain gusting in splendid style – the thrilling fiddle dash in Silverado Squatters and his legato calm above the rhythmic storm of Clyde to Sandy Hook surely capture the essence of the composer’s compulsive juggling with the elements of tension and release.

Anne wood, also on fiddle, has a marvellous time in Jekll and Hyde, her jaggy, slithery contrasts giving a clear sighting of Dr J’s little secret. Steve Kettley’s grumpy, Archie Shepp-ish tenor sax in Treasure Island and his sumptuous soprano sax work in La Solitude are other highlights in a sparkling album.

Oh, and Savourna’s harp is as captivating as ever!

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