"Free jazz can mean two things. It can connote jazz that’s wholly, wildly, improvised – and it can mean amateur hour. And that’s where this year’s Leith Jazz Festival turned out to be the exception that proves the rule. Why? Because over the course of two and a half days, it offered punters the chance to hear not just good jazz, but also world-class jazz – and all for the price of a pint (or three).

For anyone who fondly remembers the old Edinburgh Jazz Festival pub trail, the Leith event is its 21st century incarnation. The spirit seemed to prevail most strongly at the Saturday afternoon gig by The Ugly Bug Ragtime Three, a clarinet-bass-banjo/guitar trio recently hatched by leader John Burgess.

If only there had been more breathing space in the packed-out Malt ‘n’ Hops pub, there would almost certainly have been an outbreak of slow dancing along to the Uglies’ gorgeous, gently swinging How Come You Do Me Like You Do. Ah well. Maybe next year … the festival is still young".

* alison kerr The Scotsman, Monday June 9th*

The Ugly Bug Ragtime Three: C’mon Meet The Ugly Bug Ragtime Three

C Side Records CR51

Star rating: ****


"The versatile Edinburgh-based saxophonist and clarinettist John Burgess (Nova Scotia Jazz Band, Grooveyard, So in Love etc) has found the time to spawn another new band, a trio featuring him exclusively on clarinet, plus Duncan Findlay on guitar/banjo and Andy Sharkey on bass, and a repertoire of mostly long-lost numbers from the 1920s played with vigour and pep.

it’s difficult not to use guitarist, raconteur and prolific hatcher of new bands Marty Grosz’s style of language when describing the like-minded Burgess. Great fun, and a classy, authentic act".