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Walking the walk – Jazz Thursdays in Bristol

December 20, 2014
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Venues come and go in Bristol, but there seem to be more than there used to be. So much so that Thursday began to seem almost a problem. Can you have too much jazz? Well, the audience in the city is only so big so one might worry a little about that.

However, the wise and well-connected Jon Taylor has just shifted his Clifton Village gig to Wednesday so the main Thursday venues that remain are in easy walking distance of each other and – as it happens – of our house.

This week, for instance, I didn’t make it as far as Future Inns, where Dave Newton‘s trio was offering a Christmas special with guests, although with an 8.30ish start in their stylish basement room I could have caught a set there before heading from Cabot Circus a little way up Cheltenham Road to Stokes Croft.

No problem with the audience there, where Get The Blessing had them shoulder to shoulder for what is now their annual festive gig at the Canteen. It was loud, sweaty, and exhilarating. Tony Benjamin (who impressed by keeping his overcoat on) describes the proceedings here.

I enjoyed a full set, then felt ready for a change – and a little more air – and walked on up the Gloucester Rd, in time to drop into the Gallimaufry, where there was another pretty big crowd for James Morton and a superbly sharp band: didn’t catch the names but guitar and trumpet both packed a tremendous punch. Morton seems to have an endless supply of new and funky compositions, and the whole thing kept the festive feel going. There was (briefly) dancing on tables before they were done.

All this and I passed at least one other doorway (Left Bank) with interesting sounds within on the way up the road, but no time to investigate who was playing. It was a discouragingly wet and windy night, but come better weather someone should arrange little a Bristol Jazz club tour while this collection of gigs holds together. Get your kicks on the A38…

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