THIS year’s jazz night is one of the highlights of this year’s Machynlleth Festival with the world’s premier solo percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie appearing next Wednesday as the guest of the pioneering Scottish ensemble Trio HLK, with whom she recorded the trio’s debut album ‘Standard Time’.

The show is at the Tabernacl arts centre on Wednesday evening, August 23, for which tickets are priced £20.

It is part of Trio HLK’s tour following the album launch in Edinburgh and which included an appearance at the Hay Festival with Dame Evelyn, the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest conductors, orchestras, and artists.

“Collaborating with Trio HLK has been a wonderful journey of exploration, a challenge that I have thoroughly enjoyed. It has allowed me to venture out of my comfort zone, explore new rhythms and marvel at the trio’s compositional prowess. I’m really looking forward to performing these new pieces,” said Dame Evelyn.

For the album the Scottish trio of Rich Harrold on piano, Ant Law on eight string guitar and Richard Kass on drums and auxiliary percussion were joined by New York alto saxophonist Steve Lehman as well as Dame Evelyn on vibraphone and marimba.

Dame Evelyn features on three of the album’s 10 tracks with the two movements of ‘Extra Sensory Perception’ providing the otherworldly magical sound that is punctuated by more manic bursts leading into the more intense second movement, and she returns for the final track, the nervous and exciting piece ‘The Jig’ with another ethereal intro into what sounds like a timebomb ticking away and exploding in a clock factory.

Steve Lehman’s sax features also on three tracks, with the two movements of ‘Pains’ with the first part consisting entirely of Steve’s solo, and the album opener ‘Smalls’, with sounds like morse code tapping leading into a variety of sounds and Steve’s sax duelling with Richard’s drums.

HLK address ambitious improvisational frameworks which often resemble contemporary classical music more than jazz. with their music heavily deconstructing and reconstructing jazz standards like ‘Just The Way You Are Tonight’ with piano, drums and smooth guitar on ‘Twilt’.

Three of the tracks however are total originals including ‘Dux’, heavy on the drums with its laid back piano and excitable guitar, while ‘Stabvest’ is more frenzied.

Looking forward to next Wednesday pianist Rich Harrold, the H of Trio HLK, told County Times arts editor Barry Jones: “It was the first time we had been to the Hay Festival and that was really great. We saw Machynlleth on road signs so we are really looking forward to going there with Evelyn.

“We came together as a trio on new year’s day in 1998 as the other two had played some of my compositions and we got together in Edinburgh shortly before Hogmanay and felt it would be good to do some music together.

“For the debut album we wanted to have some special guests and we chatted about who we would like to respond. We aimed high and fortunately Evelyn and Steve were both into the music and the core driving it. It was quite a genuine surprise and it has been really lovely to work alongside them with Steve in New York recorded and sending over his pieces for us to add.

“We have a batch of new compositions and are starting to think about the second album now but the main effort is in trying to get things moving with live appearances and see how things develop and where things go. Touring America is definitely something we would be interested in doing as I studied musical composition over there at Yale although it would be a little bit harder to get a tour to come together,” said Rich.

Fragments of melody or harmony from existing jazz standards become the raw material for the intricate new pieces with dense, complex rhythms and textures as well as virtuosic improvisation.

But, while they often work from a jazz standard as a starting point, Rich said: “It’s is different with each of the pieces of music and we are interested in music that we find strong and then start playing around with it to find something else that would be appealing and see where the music leads and it almost always ends up in a different direction.

“But the jazz scene now has so many interesting bands going into interesting areas that are not strictly jazz anymore and it is difficult to say what jazz is now. The problem is that there are not enough venues anymore but there is a lot of good and exciting music and it is great to be part of it,” said Rich.

‘Standard Time’ is released on Ubuntu Music with artwork depicting a deconstructed clock whose components reference elements of each of the 12 tracks helping illustrate HLK’s artistic concept of deconstructing classic tunes and reworking them using contemporary classical compositional techniques.