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Bristol jazz week – Mar 10

March 10, 2014

Posting a day later because of the jazz festival, and there’s no pause in the stream of excellent gigs. There’s an extra Monday free improv session this month at the Fringe, with Nick Malcolm joined by cellist Hannah Marshall and vocalist Laura Kinsella. It’s a regular trio, with a date coming up at the Vortex in London, so although they will be making it up as they go along they do so on the basis of plenty of experience playing together. Guitarists Nigel Price and Denny Ilett are at the Coronation Tap the same evening, with Will Harris on bass.

Daklha, who unaccountably didn’t have a festival set, play the Big Chill Bar‘s University jazz, funk and soul society session on Tuesday and Kevin Figes‘ quartet are at the Canteen on Wednesday – that’s Kevin out front with the classic Bristol rhythm section of Blomfield, Harris (again) and Whitlam on piano, bass and drums.

Thursday has Arabella Sprot‘s fine quartet at Future Inns (recent review here) – also at the Coronation Tap on Sunday 16th, incidentally –  and Moonlight Saving Time at the Fringe. Also on Thursday, ECM piano star Tord Gustavsen makes a popular visit to St Georges which – I often say this but it’s true – will suit his quartet’s mostly restrained style very well. Tracks from their new CD release are strongly reminiscent of one facet of Keith Jarrett’s European quartet in the 1970s, in its testifying mood. That was one of the best small groups ever, so developing just one aspect of their playing, as I reckon Gustavsen and his heavily Jan Garbarek inclined saxophone player Tore Brunborg mostly do, is a perfectly good way to build a show, or even a whole career, just as there are still dozens of groups exploring facets of the classic 1960s Miles Davis quintet, for example. They may not quite be a match for the original but they  bring us lots of great music. I’ll be there to hear them do it again.

Here’s St George’s choice of video, which is representative.

Then another notable date on Friday, when Tori Freestone‘s trio visit the BeBop club. The saxophonist has been seen in Bristol a few times as co-leader of the excellent Compassionate Dictatorship, and with Ivo Neame’s group, and now returns with her own group as part of a CD launch tour. You can check her out here. As the club say:

Recently signed to the prestigious Whirlwind Recordings label, Freestone is in her element with her own trio, finding plenty of room to explore both the melodic and rhythmic possibilities afforded her by such a pared down, and notably chord-less set-up. Tori is joined by the amazing Dave Manington on bass and the incredible drumming of Tim Giles. Giles and Manington bounce off each other wonderfully, as well as playfully responding to Freestone’s melodies. Whilst nothing overly dominates, each member is given space that is theirs to fill (or not) as best fits the moment. It’s a subtle but winning combination which Freestone directs with great confidence.


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