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Highlights from 2011

January 3, 2012

Masses of enjoyable music over the last 12 months – so much it is hard to settle on highlights. As in years past, I’m trying to think of gigs where the complete set was wonderful, rather than just containing a few outstanding moments.

The ones that come to mind include John Law’s trio at the Bear (twice), June Tabor (a repeat from 2010), Phronesis (ditto), Paul Lewis playing Schubert, and Phil Robson’s IMS quartet, The Impossible Gentlemen, and Henry Threadgill. The total knockout, though, for me was Joe Lovano’s set at St George’s – an astonishing evening of concentrated music making from a true master.

Sets which had lots to savour, if not quite scaling those heights throughout, were numerous – Marius Neset, Ute Lemper, Stian Carstensen, Django Bates, Mike Westbrook’s Blake project, Storms/Nocturnes (Keezer, Locke and Garland), Angela Hewitt, Ralph Towner and Paulo Fresu, Kit Downes Sextet, Josh Arcoleo, Emily Wright’s band, and more.

And, in the year which saw the demise of our shiny new Bristol jazz club at Future Inns (though not of Ian Storror’s enterprising promotions), a word for one of the city’s more durable assets. We probably saw Andy Sheppard in more different contexts than any other musician this year – Trio Libero at Cheltenham, a quartet playing Coltrane ballads at St George’s, solo on the same stage, guesting with John Parricelli at Future Inns and with the wonderful trio The Pushy Doctors. Every one of those sets was superb, and showed what a consistent and creative player he is. I imagine he’ll be touring more this year to promote a new Trio Libero album from ECM (though they are also booked at St George’s), but it is great to have him in the city…


One Comment leave one →
  1. January 3, 2012 6:33 pm

    just noticed good overlap with Mike Collins’ end of year highlights – (he likes Joe Lovano, too). See also his nice post lauding all the local organisers and bookers…

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