Jump to start of page content
Scottish Arts Council - Link to home page

advanced search

Please Note:

As from 1 July 2010, this site will no longer be updated and will be retained for Archive purposes only.

For the latest information on the Arts, Creative Industries and Film & TV in Scotland please visit:

Home*Arts in Scotland*Music*Features*Archive*Artist: Bill Wells
About us
Contact us
Latest news
Arts in Scotland
What's on
16 24 explore
Web help
Site map

Bill Wells

Tune Up tour

This month we feature Bill Wells as he begins his Tune Up tour around Scotland, with a line-up of Japanese musicians.


Bill and Saya; Photo: Satomi I. Bill Wells began performing as a professional musician in Scotland in the late seventies.  He played the bass in social clubs in and around the Central Belt with various cabaret bands, before becoming more involved in the local jazz scene, backing artists such as Bruce Adams and Bobby Wellins during the eighties.  The Bill Wells Octet was formed in 1989 and recorded five albums together.  The Octet's first album was released on the Loathsome Road label set up by Bill himself.  Throughout the years this ensemble has featured many of Scotland's leading jazz musicians as well as London-based players.

1996 saw Bill winning the Scotrail Award for Best Scottish based Performer at the Glasgow International Jazz Festival, where he performed with trumpeter Harry Beckett.  It was also at this time that he met Stephen Pastel, with whom he has worked extensively in the independent Glasgow music scene.  Stephen's band, The Pastels, Future Pilot AKA, The Gentle Waves (with Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan), Telstar Ponies, V-Twin and Arab Strap have all produced albums which include Bill's contributions as either a musician or arranger.  In 2001 he collaborated with The Pastels on the soundtrack of David Mackenzie's film The Last Great Wilderness.  He was commissioned to write an arrangement for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland in 2002, and supported Belle & Sebastian on the first leg of their European tour in the same year.

Bill's discography includes his work with the Bill Wells Trio.  He recorded a solo album in 2006, Pick Up Sticks (on the Leaf label), which uses computer and sampler only.  He toured and recorded (on the Karaoke Kalk label) with Japanese band Maher Shala Hash Baz in 2004, and this band is amongst the musicians joining him in his April tour of Scotland.

Tune Up tour

Touring Scotland in April 2006 with Bill Wells are Japanese bands Tenniscoats and Maher Shala Hash Baz, and musicians Kama Aina and Kazumi Nikaido.

Kazumi Nikaido was born in Hiroshima where she began performing with local bands in the early nineties.  She moved to Tokyo later in the decade to pursue her musical career more seriously.  She has collaborated with a wide range of artists and has released a solo album, 'Mata Otoshi-mashita-yo' ('You Dropped Somthing Again, Didn't You?').

Kama Aina is a solo project of Takuji Aoyagi, a multi-instrumentalist who grew up in a musical family listening to Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American music.  He collects sounds and visions from all over the world, and has founded his own label, Folklore.  In 2004 he released Two Fingers, a collaboration album so called because all of the pieces on it can be played with just two fingers.

Tenniscoats' central figures are Saya and Ueno, both from Tokyo.  The band formed in 2000 and gets its name from the way Japanese speakers pronounce 'tennis courts'.  They have released an album and two EPs of 'extended, meditative improvisations and a kind of innocent darkness'.  They are considered to be one of the most hypnotic and engaging live bands in Japan, and are constantly varying their lineup, instrumentation and material.

Saya and Nika; Photo: Satomi I.

Maher Shalal Hash Baz (a name based on a Hebrew biblical phrase meaning 'be quick if you're going to steal something') was formed in 1984 by Tori Kudo and two neighbours who had never played instruments before.  They have been releasing records since 1989.  Their music is spontaneous, melodic and experimental with an ever-changing line-up that often features 'untrained' musicians.  Tori Kudo's music is often composed in his head and written out to be given to the band on the day of a show or recording. 

Tori and Takuji; Photo: Satomi I.

In 1996 Maher Shalal Hash Baz released a triple LP box set called Return Visit to Rock Mass, which resulted in their first of many foreign tours in 1999.

Tori Kudo's music varies from the avant-garde to catchy pop tunes.  Maher Shalal Hash Baz's most recent album, Blues Du Jour (released in 2004), is 41 tracks varying between 10-seconds long instrumental miniatures and psychedelic folk-pop.

Bill Wells, Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Tenniscoats, Kama Aina & Kazumi Nikaido are touring:

Fri 7 April 2006

Bush Hall, London

Tue 11 April 2006 Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline
Wed 12 April 2006 CCA, Glasgow
Thu 13 April 2006 The Tolbooth, Stirling
Fri 14 April 2006 An Tobar, Tobermory
Tue 18 April 2006 An Lanntair, Stornoway
Fri 21 April 2006 Lyth Arts Centre
Sat 22 April 2006 Woodwick House, Orkney

Bill Wells will also be appearing at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen on 30 April, as part of this year's Triptych programme.  The 2006 Triptych festival also appears as a project on our website.

For more information on Tune Up, visit the Tune Up website.

Related links
* Maher Shalal Hash Baz
* Tori Kudo
* Tenniscoats
* Kama Aina
* Kazumi Nikaido
* Domino records
* Tune Up
* Triptych
* Carnegie Hall
* Tolbooth
* An Tobar
* An Lanntair
* Lyth Arts Centre
* Woodwick House
* Glasgow International Jazz Festival
* Music home
* Other music features
* Music projects - Triptych 2006
top of page print this page - opens in new window send to a friend  
Awarding funds from The National Lottery

© Scottish Arts Council. All rights reserved. Terms & conditions | Accessibility information