Jazz enthusiasm in Scotland has always been strong, but since Jack Bruce the northern half of the UK has not produced a jazz musician of distinction. That is about to change, because with the drummer, composer and bandleader Graham Costello and his entourage, Scottish jazz is taking a completely new look. However, the Glaswegian is a stranger to the term jazz. "I don't really like to resort to the word jazz. My music has nothing to do with swing or the typical jazz reflex of building long improvisations on a short theme. The whole jazz tradition is completely irrelevant to me. I see myself as a composer who is more oriented towards noise and minimal music. Before I formed my band Strata, I had played in a noise rock band myself. But categories like jazz and rock belong to the past for me. Previous generations may have needed them, but for me they don't mean anything anymore."
He's right. The music of the Scotsman can best be located between the poles of Mogwai and Portico Quartet. On his new album "Second Lives" he has two wind instruments, it is instrumental and polyrhythmic. All of this certainly justifies the label jazz, but it can just as easily be dispensed with. Costello is concerned with the musical processing of his own life circumstances, and he doesn't allow himself to be pressed into any kind of scheme. In this respect, the youngster's music is a kind of utopia. It is equally very relaxed and hypnotic, but on the other hand also aggressive and agitated. Costello knows how to mediate between these extremes and find a way of balance. "Even if the album is made up of individual tracks," says Costello, "for me it's always about a continuous stream of energy..."