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Bristol jazz week – 16 Feb

February 15, 2014

I didn’t find time to review the Kit Downes‘ quintet gig last Sunday properly, but it was a supremely satisfying night. However, there may well be things to match it in the next seven days, which look pretty busy.

Tomorrow (Sunday) there is an unusually well-staffed function at the Coronation Tap, with – as mentioned in last week’s list – a seven piece band, apparently. I’m wondering how they’ll squeeze in but I bet they sound good.

Monday sees the monthly session from the Bristol Composers Collective upstairs at the Wardrobe Theatre at The Bear, St Michael’s Hill. They will be airing new compositions by Jake McMurchie, and probably other stuff. It is all quite ad hoc, as this nice profile by Mike Collins just explained. Well worth sampling for that intriguing atmosphere of work in progress.

(UPDATE – not Jake, in fact, as he’s on tour with Get the Blessing. Mike Collins – again – reports it will be “quite varied, with compositions from several different people in the group”)

Thursday night has the The Pushy Doctors at the Fringe for the second week, but this time presenting Frank Sinatra tunes with, they say,  “a Special Guest Singer who will answer to the name of Frank for one night only”. Your guess is as good as mine. Singing, too, at the Future Inns club which has an unusual outfit that evening called Realms, which they can tell you about.

Realms is an intriguing collaboration founded by singer Rosalie Genay and pianist Rebecca Nash, two artists who share a fascination and fondness for the songs of contemporary lyrical legends Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Together they have embarked on an ambitious journey to arrange some of their idols’ tracks for this new project, consciously including less well known songs in amongst the more popular ones and setting them into imaginative new arrangements.

The covers might lend themselves well to a more jazz-inspired backing but Genay is careful not to lose anything in the transition. By offering a different perspective on Waits and Cohen’s music, and by including their own original tunes in their repertoire as well, Genay, Nash and co. provide ample opportunity to enjoy the collective talent of the band. This tour takes them outside their London base and around the UK to promote the release of their debut album in February 2014.

I’d quite fancy that, but I have a date with Jane Eyre at the Old Vic.

A treat in store at the BeBop club on Friday with the brilliant John Law and his new onomatopoeic project Boink! Why the name? well…

 electronic sounds and effects over drum grooves. Spontaneous group interaction between keyboards and guitar, coming out of pre-composed electronic music scores. Underpinned by propulsive drum grooves. Jazz, rock, ambient, electronic…. The music will be performed in front of a screen, showing live interactive visuals, using artwork specially put together for this tour. This concert is part of a UK tour supported by Jazz Services and the Arts Council of England. John Law – electric keyboards, Jon Lloyd – soprano sax/bass clarinet, Rob Palmer – guitar, Lloyd Haines – drums plus a live visuals artist.

Read a review of one of their earlier gigs in this tour here.

Then there’s an unusually interesting weekend in prospect, too, courtesy of the Bristol New Music Festival. There is a host of gigs under this banner, beginning on Friday – full details of them all here. Jazzy things include a rare appearance by the great pianist Keith Tippett’s Octet at Colston Hall on Saturday – at 4.00 in the afternoon – playing a new work. The last time this happened it was the superb From Granite to Wind suite, which you can now buy on an excellent Ogun CD, so expect something special.

Then on Sunday evening the Christian Wallumrod ensemble grace St George’s with another visit. Phil Johnson explains why you should give them your time on the St George’s blog here. Even better, in my book, there’s one of Trish Brown’s excellent after hours sessions in the Crypt after the big gig. She has enticed the phenomenal vibes player Corey Mwamba, last seen in these parts for a memorable trio gig in Bath, to make the trip from Derby to play duos with Nick Malcolm. I can’t be sure, but I have a suspicion that will be the tucked-away highlight of a packed week.

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