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Bumper Bristol Jazz week – Jan 17

January 16, 2015

Tony Benjamin’s jazz round-up for the coming week (it’s impressive).

Fun-loving jazz fans will definitely regret spending all their money in the January sales if it means missing out on next week’s jazz feast, as there’s at least five outstanding gigs in prospect. There’s Boston B-3 Hammond hero Larry Goldings’ cool guitar trio, for a start (Lantern, Wednesday 21) and then Alex Garnett’s genuinely all-star Bunch of Fives (Coronation Tap, Thursday 22) featuring his sax face-off with Tim Armacost. On Friday night the Bebop hosts awesome-toned trumpeter Steve Waterman and his Afro-Cuban quintet Heads South featuring ex-pat Cuban percussionist Chino Martell Morgan and raising the dangerous prospect of an outbreak of dancing behind The Bear. And then there’s Andy Sheppard’s Hotel Bristol (Hen & Chicken, Sunday 25), being the new name for his quartet with guitarist Denny Ilett, trumpeter/bass player Percy Pursglove and the drumming of Dylan Howe. Andy’s been composing much new material for this outfit while awaiting the release of his next ECM album. Oh, and the strangely successful if unlikely keyboard duel that is the Henderson-Willox Quartet appear at the Alma Tavern on Sunday night, too.

Did we miss anyone out, there? Ah yes – only the biggest name of all: avant-garde legend Anthony Braxton’s Diamond Curtain Wall Quartet (Lantern,Tuesday 20) marking the only UK date in his European tour and a long-awaited chance to hear live one of the most original jazz saxophone players and composers to emerge in the 60s. Imagine Sun Ra with five music degrees and you might get close to his unique musical voice, making this likely to be one of Bristol’s jazz moments of 2015.


That’s Tony’s list of notables, but you can also squeeze in Nick Malcolm’s Quintet with Rebecca Nash on keys and Nick Dover on sax at the Fringe Jazz session at the Mall in Clifton on Wednesday, and violinist John Pearce plays at Future Inns on Thursday, with George Cooper on piano, Will Harris on bass and Ian Matthews on drums.

Oh, and more on the Braxton visit, and why he matters, here.

PPS – there’s yet another top notch date a little further afield – Anglo-US supergroup The Impossible Gentlemen (Mike Walker on guitar, Gwilym Simcock on Piano, Steve Rodby Bass and Adam Nussbaum Drums) play Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford on Avon on Sat 24th, as they tour before recording a new album.

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