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Bristol Jazz Week, 23 March

March 22, 2014

A slight slowdown now, after the hubbub of the jazz festival and a three week run of outstanding gigs at St Georges, culminating in the excellent Bristol debut of Gregory Porter last Thursday – perhaps the most resonant male voice I’ve heard since Willard White sang gospel in Bath a few years ago.

Still, the regular weekly jazz spots have some goodies, starting with the Jonny Bruce Band at the Alma on Sunday evening. Trumpeter Bruce shone in numerous ensembles at the festival, and always puts on an exuberant show. The Canteen have “gypsy jazz” from violinist Matt Holborn‘s quartet on Sunday afternoon, following which the same band head over to the Tobacco Factory for an evening session.

Also Sunday is singer Lizzie Dean at the Corrie Tap, with a powerful band including bassist Jeff Spencer, Jerry Crozier-Cole on guitar, Rich Laws, keyboardist Anders Olinder and James Morton on sax. (Look out for Bristol favourites Dakhla at the Corrie next Sunday – Mar 30th – by the way)

The excellent, Monkish, Freight feature at the JazzFunkSoulSoc session at the Big Chill bar on Tuesday.

On Wednesday at the Canteen you can hear Phatic, a new quartet featuring James Ladd’s guitar and Mike Willox’s keyboard along with Dave Johnston’s bass and Justin Fellows on drums. Sample their work on soundcloud here.

Thursday’s booking at the Fringe in Clifton is the Andy Sheppard -Denny Ilett band, with trumpeter Dan Reid appearing at Future Inns. I’ve not had the pleasure but they say:

Dan Reid is a fantastic young trumpet player who has been developing his style into something fully formed and unique. He likes to play very quietly and he has exquisite control – difficult for a trumpeter at low volumes. A cross between Chet Baker and Clifford Brown this is a quality performer who is quickly gaining a reputation for intimate and engaging shows. He brings with him the wonderful Greg Cordez on double bass, Trevor Davies on drums, and George Cooper on piano.

Friday’s at the BeBop club sees a visit from Chris Biscoe, whose career has produced a vast amount of fine music. Their blurb:

Chris Biscoe is one of the UK’s finest alto sax players, who has long associations with legends such as Mike Westbrook and Harry Beckett. More recently Chris has been examining the music of Charles Mingus, releasing the CD Profiles of Mingus in 2010 with an all-star cast including trumpeter Henry Lowther.  For tonight Chris is bringing some of his Mingus arrangements, some originals and some Woody Shaw to play alongside Andy Hague – trumpet, Jim Blomfield – piano, Greg Cordez – bass and Andy Tween – drums. The last gig Chris did for us in 2012 was brilliant, so don’t miss. To check out his extensive and impressive discography visit

Biscoe’s last two CDs, one devoted to Mingus, the other a tribute to Eric Dolphy, were both superb tributes to their inspirations – and his playing really shows the benefits of all his decades of experience in jazz.

Finally, if anyone fancies going a bit further afield, or this blog has any readers in the neighbourhood, there’s a notable gig at the Stratford Jazz Club, Stratford-on-Avon on Wednesday, with guitarist Maciek Pyszs trio featuring fellow virtuosi Yuri Goloubev and Asif Sirkis, often seen in these parts with John Law’s trio. It’s part of an extensive CD launch tour (there have been a slew of excellent reviews of the recording) so if you can’t make it to the Midlands, there are also chances to catch this excellent sounding outfit at Dempsey’s in Cardiff on April 2 and the Queen’s Head, Monmouth the following day – excellent venues both – though not, alas, in Bristol. Maybe next time?

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