No time… no time…
However, must note a great gig by John Law’s New Congregation at Future Inns last week. Would have been good to see a few more folks there: summer doldrums? Dunno.
And here’s the link for Tony Benjamin’s hand-crafted guide to the coming week’s jazz and related stuff. Vein were indeed very impressive (though never did figure out why they chose the name) at St George’s a while back, so good to see they are coming our way again next weekend.
Here’s Mr B‘s run down of the musical delights on offer in Bristol this week. Plenty going on: I’d say that Phronesis, followed by Julian Arguelles Tetra (both of whom I managed to catch), followed by John Law (Future Inns this Thursday) in a week seems a pretty unbeatable sequence of gigs. Law, who lives in Somerset, is a bit of a local hero but also a jazz pianist and composer of international stature. If he recorded for ACT or ECM he’d be famous. As it is, we get to hear his marvellous work in small venues like this. He’s nearing the end of a long tour showcasing work from his latest double CD. The band made a call at the BeBop club earlier in the year that I missed, so really pleased there’s another chance to hear this quartet. There’s a good review of the recording here from fellow pianist Mike Collins.
As Tony Benjamin says, the BeBop club is quiet now for the Summer, but the music goes on. The next really big treat should be the peerless Ernest Ranglin‘ at Colston Hall on July 1 – a farewell tour, this, after sixty years on the road and as well as some long-time cohorts, the tour band also features Soweto Kinch which should bring a more contemporary flavour to the proceedings. Intriguing.
Meanwhile, The Fringe have decided to carry on all Summer, so there will be at least one weekly fix. I think Future Inns will probably keep ’em coming, too, although they only have dates listed at the moment up to the end of this month. But for advance planners, here’s the very strong Fringe running order until end of August.
Nick Dover – Tenor Sax
Will Harris – Double Bass
A Tribute to Horace Silver
Andy Hague – Trumpet
Ben Waghorn – Tenor Sax
Kevin Figes – Alto Sax
Jim Blomfield – Piano
Greg Cordez – Double Bass
Oops, late again – but here‘s Tony Benjamin‘s gig list for the coming week.
As he says, new compositions from Greg Cordez will be good to hear on Wednesday. He’s a thoughtful and varied composer, as my CD review here noted.
The Kenny Garrett set at the Bebop club sounds good as well, but note that you can also hear the amazing Phronesis, just by getting train over to Bradford-on-Avon. The Wiltshire Music Centre’s about 10 mins walk up the hill from the station, and that’s where I’ll be on Friday night. A chance to hear this remarkable trio live is not to be missed.
And after that, there’s yet another choice booking, with Julian Arguelles’ Tetra at the Lantern at Colston Hall on Sunday night (12 June). That’s so enticing that Mr B has a separate preview here. This tour was the Guardian‘s jazz pick of the week, too. They really are one of the best quartets around, and bristling with talent – with Arguelles’ sax teamed with younger piano star Kit Downes, everyone’s favourite drummer James Maddren, and Sam Lasserson on bass. Their last Bristol appearance went down a treat at the Hen and Chicken, and they were even more impressive, if anything, at the Brecon Jazz festival, when I seem to remember comparing them to Keith Jarrett’s old “European” quartet. Not to imply that the music is the same, just trying to find a measure for how good they are.
This video captures them well.
Tony Benjamin‘s weekly gig roundup is here, as usual.
And while there are plenty of good things in Bristol, I’m going to highlight a couple of out of town excursions that could be even better.
First is a chance to hear the sublime Quercus (June Tabor, Ian Ballamy, Huw Warren) at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on Friday. Folk? Jazz? Who cares! Basically you get one of the world’s great voices alongside two of the UK’s finest musicians. There’s no-one quite like the sound of this trio, and they promise some new pieces for this date. It’s bound to be a rare and fine evening.
(Jean Toussaint appears at the same venue on Saturday, incidentally, but I can’t manage that one as well, sadly).
The week after, there’s another remarkable trio on offer when Phronesis appear at the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford on Avon on June 10th. They’ve had ten years of performing together now and their latest CD has had deservedly good reviews. They’re even better live, as I tried to capture here last year. With Julian Arguelles Tetra booked for Colston Hall a couple of days later there’s a pretty astonishing run of gigs coming up if you care to move around just a little.
A little late this week with the diary – but here’s the link to Tony Benjamin‘s preview of Bristol’s jazz delights.
I’d add two dates for the brilliant bass player Olie Brice’s quintet. They’re on a tour that takes in Dempsey‘s in Cardiff on Wednesday and, more unusually, Future Inns in Bristol on Sunday.
That’s a welcome addition to the regular Thursday dates at Future Inn. Brice, also seen in Nick Malcolm‘s quartet, is an immensely thoughtful player at the melodic end of free music, and this band is stellar, with a three horn front line (Mike Fletcher, Alex Bonney, George Crowley) and the wonderful Jeff Williams – recently seen at the BeBop club – on drums. They’re playing new music on the way to being recorded, and this is the half-way point on the tour so they should be well into it by then. Brice explains some of his hopes for the music, and makes it sound exactly my kind of thing, in this fascinating blogpost.
The Bristol gig, again unusually, is billed for 4.30 on Sunday. It’s a bank holiday weekend so maybe this will catch enough people at a loose end to encourage Future Inns to do it again!
Here are three of the quintet playing as a trio – so all you have to do is imagine them with an additional sax and a cornet in the front line… (wait, add one more – Nick Malcolm is guesting on the Bristol date, too).
A couple of outstanding international visitors’ gigs to look forward to this week. Norwegian bass legend Arild Andersen is at St George’s on Thursday with a trio featuring Tommy Smith on sax and percussionist Paulo Vinaccia. Andersen’s trio makes beautiful recordings for ECM, and will enjoy the setting at St G’s – a venue where Tommy Smith appeared in his enjoyable duo with pianist Brian Kellock last year, and turned in a notably livelier performance than they lay down in the studio. Anderson is a star player, last seen in this country in a London Jazz Festival show recreating a famous Charles Mingus concert from 1965, and not suffering at all from the implied comparison with the great man (even if his band did, a little).
Then it’s all eyes on Bath where the International Music Festival brings Branford Marsalis to an even more atmospheric venue – Bath Abbey – on Saturday evening (May 21). He’s playing a solo set jumping off from his latest CD In My Solitude, and adapted to each space on the tour. He’s a versatile saxophone stylist, who played a storming quartet set at Bath’s cavernous Forum a few years back, so it’ll be fascinating to hear how he responds to the Abbey, and whether he rises to the standard memorably set by Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard ensemble there a couple of years back.
If you don’t fancy either of those, there are plenty of other interesting musical happenings in Bristol this week, all detailed as usual by Tony Benjamin over at Bristol247.