Fiona Mactaggart

Writer about Music

United Kingdom

I'm based in Edinburgh, Scotland and used to work in the National Health Service. For some years I’ve written music reviews, mainly jazz, world music and new classical. Many of these reviews are on my website, Scottish Jazz Space. My aim is to spread the word about interesting new music, whatever labels might be attached. I also play drums.


"Over recent years Fiona has become established as a vital journalist specialising in the Scottish music scene, with a particular affinity for jazz and new music. Her connection to the music she writes about, the thoroughness of her knowledge and joy in sharing her insight shines through her effortless prose. Her writing is as engaging as it is expressive and continues to encapsulate the essence of a multitude of diverse new releases." - Simon Thacker, Guitarist, Composer, Teacher (personal email, 2020)

“Fiona Mactaggart is a gifted writer, who listens deeply to all aspects of the music, producing thoughtful and insightful reviews.” – Diane Moser, Jazz pianist, Composer, Big band leader, Teacher (personal email, 2018)

Regarding new music, “you have open ears.” – John Luther Adams, Composer (personal email, 2015)

Scottish Jazz Space
The Ex / Painted X-Ray, The Dissection Room, Summerhall, Edinburgh, Scotland, 19 September 2019

An edited version of The Ex gig only, appeared on Jazzwise magazine's website today 19 September 2019: Enthusiastic pogoing by those at the front did not prevent close listening to the repeating guitar figures, which curiously evoked both police sirens and nursery rhymes, over sheets of ear-bleeding guitar noise and popping polyrhythmic drum...

News, reviews, features and comment from the London jazz scene and beyond
Richard Michael - Contemplation

Richard Michael - Contemplation (Self-released. CD review by Fiona Mactaggart) Self-released on the occasion of Richard Michael's 70th birthday, what a wonderful gift this solo double album is to himself, his family and those of us who love a gorgeous melody. Honorary Professor of Jazz at University of St Andrews, long-term leader of the Fife Youth...

DooBeeDooBeeDoo NY
CD Review: Okan Ersan "NIBIRU"

On 20th July fifty years ago, Apollo 11 landed the first two people ever to stand on the moon: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It is therefore timely that respected jazz fusion guitarist, Nicosia, Cyprus - based Okan Ersan is this summer releasing his third album, the space-themed concept album, NIBIRU.

Scottish Jazz Space
Trio Magico, The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, 19 July 2019

From the first minute of this sell-out Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival concert, at the comfortably intimate Edinburgh venue, the audience was rapt, with none of the usual Jazz Bar sporadic chat happening. All focus was on the trio as they played in one exhausting set, ten arrangements of the interesting, lyrical and beautiful music...

News, reviews, features and comment from the London jazz scene and beyond
Zhenya Strigalev & Federico Dannemann - The Change

Zhenya Strigalev & Federico Dannemann - The Change (Rainy Days Records. CD review by Fiona Mactaggart) The album title, The Change, is apt. After a decade based in London where he has gained a significant following, saxophonist non-conformist Zhenya Strigalev has returned to live in his native St Petersburg, this being his first recording since his...

DooBeeDooBeeDoo NY
CD Review: Pablo Aslan "Contrabajo. Works For Bass and String Quartet"

Artist: Pablo Aslan Title: Contrabajo Label: Soundbrush Records Genre: nu-tango/contemporary music/jazz Available on: cdbaby, Discogs, itunes, Amazon and major streaming sites Review by Fiona Mactaggart This uplifting and luminescent new album from Argentinian born, Brooklyn based double bassist Pablo Aslan, is a real find.

Tommy Smith and the SNJO dazzle with a myriad of Norse Myths

The world premiere of Norse Myths took place at Aberdeen Jazz Festival this week, and featured the colourful new offering from the project's originator, Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith. From recent Marvel blockbuster films, to Neil Gaiman's 2017 re-telling of Norse mythology, to the drama playing out as we speak by our present-day British gods, the theme feels topical.

News, reviews, features and comment from the London jazz scene and beyond
INTERVIEW: Simon Thacker (new double album Trikala now released)

Simon ThackerPublicity PhotoGuitar virtuoso, composer and teacher SIMON THACKER hails from East Lothian. He has a deep involvement in Indian music, and this month sees the release of an ambitious new (double) album, Trikala, in which he engages with an international group of 12 other top-level musicians and singers under the moniker "Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti"....

Scottish Jazz Space
Trio HLK and Evelyn Glennie, The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh - 13 May 2018

Music review by F Mactaggart. The sense of excitement is palpable as Scottish Trio HLK arrive briskly on stage at 8pm sharp, and persists undimmed until they take their modest final bows to the thrilled home crowd precisely two hours later. Such exactitude regarding time feels in keeping with a band whose music is predicated upon...