Jazz legend Courtney Pine has soaked up sounds across Europe for his latest album and admits to having a special soft spot for Scotland and its ancient kings.

The master saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist now has a set of bagpipes and is hunting for his clan tartan. "I live in a detached property but my friends can still hear me," he laughs.

An effusive, effervescent personality who has been a major presence in British jazz since exploding on the scene in the late '80s, Courtney loves music, loves travelling and loves life.

Bringing these altogether, 'Europa' is not released until March but Fifers can enjoy a preview when Courtney plays the Carnegie Hall on Saturday.

"This is the first time I'm going to be playing this material in Scotland. It's very different to what I've done before," the Londoner told Press Online.

"Some of the influences come from Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and most definitely Scotland, yeah!

"Oh, the amount of hours I've played up there. There's definitely some influence from the Kenneth Dubh clan!

"I've been looking for a decent pair of bagpipes every time I've been up there and my manager cheekily got me one. Apparently there is a Pine kilt so I'm searching for that as well.

"I've never had time to absorb as much as I really should do when I'm up there. I get up there do the hoe-down and then come back down south." Looking back over his career, Courtney said, "The gigs that I've done in the past have been really frenetic, fast-paced, action-packed, excursions of as many aspects of jazz as I can get my hands on. This one has led me to a European exploration and that's what we'll be playing." Courtney is renowned for having a strong work ethic and believes in practising now as much as he ever did.

"Yeah it has to be done. If I did like one of those smooth jazz, sexy, porn type affairs then I wouldn't have to practice but the music I do requires research and practice.

"It's really fulfilling to play a style of music which is not just for now but it's from the past and it's looking into the future. Yeah so I have to put the hours in." His debut album, was a huge commercial success and was launched in the hey day of Yuppies and style magazines like 'The Face'.

The new boy on the block found mainstream fame but his success alienated many of the old school jazz aficionados and some still haven't forgiven him.

However, the driver for Courtney has always been a restless quest for new challenges and influences.

"From my first album I was allowed in with that kind of approach and if I fancied doing a folk-themed, Celtic, Mediterranean theme, I'll do it.

"I can do that and that's why I like jazz. It allows you to do that. People don't come to my shows because I'm playing a hit because I don't have any hits.

"They come to hear that moment of exploration, that moment of improvisation, that moment of 'this is only going to happen tonight not at any other time'.

"As you know jazz fans are very particular. Certain types who get into jazz want to hear something that they've never heard before. I'm a jazz fan when I get on stage I play with musicians who also have that lean." For this album, Courtney, an avid student of the history of jazz, has replaced his trusty sax with the bass clarinet.

"She's been hinting for a couple of years from my instrument cupboard, 'When you going to give me a go?'. Every now and then I take her out and play her on one or two tunes but I decided that at some point in my career I would do a whole album that's dedicated to the bass clarinet.

"The bass clarinet is a truly fascinating instrument. It has been done before but there hasn't really been anyone in jazz who specialised exclusively on bass clarinet. Most guys play a bit of saxophone, a bit of clarinet.

"The way the album went and the sound that I was looking for - it was just had to be the bass clarinet and so far it's worked out well. I've had to put some extra hours in practising but as you know I like that." What is Courtney's reaction to so often being given the cold shoulder by the British jazz establishment over the years?

"It's amazing. You would have thought that guys would be supporting jazz. Luckily for me I arrived in America several years earlier than I expected and they were all supportive of what I was trying to do.

"They were really happy to see the seeds that they had sown in last century were coming to flourish. I had nothing but kind words, support and job opportunities in America.

"But you'd find over here that some people in jazz didn't enjoy my presence. It was the most bizarre thing but that's when you realise that there was a right wing and a left wing in jazz in this country.

"Even though this is an Afro-American art form guys found it very offensive that I was trying to actually have my own voice in it.

"Some of those guys still exist and no matter what I put out they'll say 'He can't really play you know'.

"Eventually they will have to admit it's because of their misgivings, their shortcomings that they distrust what I am trying to do. All my career I've been trying to present jazz to a wider audience. There's nothing evil in that intent.

"I did a concert with Tommy Smith up there at the Queens Hall (Edinburgh). We paid homage to our idol John Coltrane and it was a no-holds-barred just get up there and play. I felt it was a really nice celebration of how our generation feel about the influence of such a great musician.

"And still some of the jazz writers in Scotland didn't like it. Didn't like the fact that we were actually embracing each other through the music. I just think that jazz is such a great music that no matter what generation comes along, they're able to speak through jazz and that's how it should be.

"Others cultures as well. You've got great musicians in India, Japan, all over the world who improvise. They've found a way to replicate what we do as human beings like what we're doing now in talking. We don't know what the other is going to say, we're improvising right now.

"To do that in music is the ultimate but not everybody feels that we should be able to have that level of freedom.

Courtney is as articulate and enthusiastic about his art form as he was in his early days only more so.

"Well it's getting deeper now because I'm actually on a project which is close to my heart. The record was created out of my journey across the European continent, out of meeting various people, out of eating Russian food.

"On prior albums it was the like doing the apprenticeship through the Afro-American tradition or looking into African music or the Caribbean music but I've never actually made music, composed music, created an album of originals on my existence in Europe.

"My birth, my job, the places I've gone to and I'm really excited by that. It doesn't sound like anything else. I'm really pleased with the results of this record and the contributions of the musicians and the fact that I have the opportunity to present it live.

"We launched it at the London Jazz festival and you would call it a white-knuckle ride thing. We had no idea what this music was going to do to the audience, or what it was going to do to us because we'd never performed it and it worked out so better than I ever expected.

"The response from the audience was outstanding for music that they had never heard before.

"Music should reflect life and vice versa, That's been how I've looked at my career. And now I'm playing jigs, I'm playing Celtic references, the music comes from Spanish influences, from Russian folk music, Mediterranean stuff and to have a chance to play it in Europe as well is unbelievable.

"I don't know if it will be accepted in America or Australia or South Africa but to see it work out in Europe is a dream come true.

"As I said to my manager it took over 40 years to make this record. He said 'What do you mean by that?' I said, "Well it's my whole life story that's gone into it. From growing up in a single room apartment in Paddington. It's that whole story, that whole evolution.

How somebody could come from that background to playing music all over the world.

"Going against the grain. My parents definitely didn't want me to be a musician. It wasn't in our family DNA so they couldn't understand why I wanted to play music."