Bristol jazz week – May 3

News just in: Jazz sage Tony Benjamin‘s unmissable weekly guide to jazz gigs in Bristol seems to have been squeezed out of Bristol247 (though he’ll still do monthly previews – one each for jazz, folk, world music).

So for now, at least, his weekly recommendations will appear here in full, with thanks.

And now I must dash off to `Cheltenham again…

Jazz week: May 4-10

After the annual feeding frenzy that is Cheltenham Jazz – and of course there’s still Monday 4 with Neil Cowley Trio, Hackney Colliery Band and the big Gershwin tribute with Laura Mvula and Gregory Porter among the featured vocalists – it’s nice to have a more measured week’s jazz diet to digest at our leisure. It’s an eclectic menu, too, starting at The Fringe @ The Mall with Jake McMurchie’s Michelson Morley. Both Dan Messore’s probing guitar and Jake’s exploratory tenor sax use a boggling array of effects pedals to create shifting electronic textures and distinctive sound contrasts making this a fascinating contemporary project.

If you missed the Hackney Colliers at Cheltenham you can catch them at The Fleece (Thursday 7) where their ‘Balkan ska goes to New Orleans’ groove sound will be part of a very dance friendly Fiesta Bombarda evening. Subtler stuff will be featured at Future Inn that night, however, when Andy Hague’s Double Standards Quartet runs through some of his imaginative arrangements of classic tunes. The band includes George Cooper (piano), Dave Guy (bass) and Paolo Adamo (drums) and you can also catch them the next day (Friday 8) at the Colston Hall foyer ‘drive time’ session.

Vocalist Cathy Jones has one of the region’s best voices for Brazilian style jazz and her Balança band is a great showcase for it. It’s the full quartet line-up for their appearance at The Bebop (Friday 8), with Tristram Cox (guitar) and Sam Tomkins (percussion) complemented by Kevin Figes playing alto sax and flute, the latter a definite added treat. Contrasting vocal styles will be on offer at the Tobacco Factory (Sunday 10), however, when shameless diva Joanna Swan gives her full-throated attention to  rearranged show tunes and more with her quartet including long-time musical foil Nick Pullen on guitar.

Gig of the week, however, will be at St George’s when Roberto SOLO Fonsecas one-man show allows the former Buena Vista pianist to spread himself out across a few keyboards, loop pedals and what-not without the distraction of his usual sprawling Afro-Cuban ensemble. Check out this video for an idea of past solo shows.


Add from me: agree about gig of the week but there’s another close contender in Vula Viel‘s date at the Canteen on Wednesday: featuring African percussion from the leader along with the excellent George Crowley on Sax, and other fine people. Details here.

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