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Bristol and Brecon roundup

August 17, 2013

Quick roundup of others’ reviews in lieu of dedidated posts on recent gigs.

An outstanding evening at the Cori Tap with Femi Temowo and James Gardiner-Bateman, captured for Venue by Tony Benjamin.

As he says, some of the best music heard in Bristol this year, and great that James was able to organise the gig at such short notice and the amazing Troy Miller and Karl-Rasheed Abel, last seen with Soweto Kinch, came too. Superb as always to see playersa of such quality up close – very close! Also worth mentioning Temowo’s crowd-funding campaign for his next project, which I’ll be supporting.

Made a brief visit to the contrasting venue (seats ‘n’ stuff) at Future Inns a couple of days later to catch Gary Alesbrook’s gig – only one set but time for some lustrous flugelhorn ballads and the usual fine piano playing from Dave Newton.

Then off to Brecon, which I have reviewed in brief for JazzWise (October issue, I guess). Others who’ve already posted on the festival there include my friend Mary James here, and Ian Mann who reports on Saturday here. I’ll add Sunday when his post on the sets then goes up.

Of the things they heard, we shared Julian Siegel quartet (excellent), Phronesis (thrilling) and Django Bates (a continuous series of delights) on Saturday. Sunday was more crowded, with fine work from Huw Warren with Jim Black, John Surman, The Impossible Gentlemen, and Quercus.

The Impossible Gents probably the one to note here, partly because it was a scintillating set, partly because their Autumn tour to promote their new really fine CD – which is already attracting admiring comments from reviewers – brings them to Cardiff in October in a double bill with that man Huw Warren again.

Their Brecon set was epitomised by the fact that the projector beaming “Brecon Jazz” onto the backdrop  in the Theatr Brycheiniog began moving up and down in time with the beat – and thus so did the projection. It really did feel as if the Festival, or maybe the whole of Brecon, was vibrating in sympathy with the joyful work happening on stage.

Our devoted new venues mean there hasn’t really been a Summer jazz break in Bristol this year, but there’s plenty more stuff coming up now Summer’s end is in sight. There’s the Old Duke jazz festival next weekend, a nice programme at St George’s for the new season, and even a mini festival in Abergavenny at the end of the month. Oh, and as I mentioned on twitter, Andy Sheppard and James Morton return to the Alma tomorrow night (Sunday 18). We should hear about the headliners for the second Bristol Jazz Festival soon, too…

Added 20/8

My little piece is up on Jazzwise website now

and Ian Mann’s response to the strong sets we heard on Sunday is here. He has lots of good things to say about Huw Warren & Jim Black, and John Surman.


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