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Bristol jazz week – May 24

May 23, 2015

Here are Tony Benjamin‘s notable gigs for the coming week. And don’t forget that there’s a rare opportunity to hear Mike Westbrook‘s marvellous settings of William Blake in Bath tonight (Saturday), with a full choir.

Jazz week May 25-31

Well the last blast of the Bath Festival is the great Hugh Masekela (Monday 25) at the Forum– not always the most reliable of trumpeters but guaranteed entertainment value whatever, with Bristol’s well-established Afrobeat outfit Helele in support. If you’re heading over to Bath the House Gospel Choir afternoon gig in Komedia should be a rousing experience.

Back in Bristol, however, there’s a tasty three-night sequence starting with Andy Sheppard’s Pushy Doctors (Fringe @ Mall, Wednesday 27), Snarky Puppy Keyboard man Bill Laurance’s trio (Lantern, Thursday 28) and Kevin Figes Quartet (Bebop Club, Friday 29). Shepherd’s trio is a top quality blend of art and irony, deceptively lightweight in its approach, while Laurance has produced two ‘solo’ albums of filmic ambient funk (if that doesn’t make any sense check this video) and the Snarky Puppy link is sure to make the gig a hot ticket thing. It’ll be particularly good to catch up with tireless composer and saxophonist Kevin Figes whose last CD set (2013’s Tables and Chairs) garnered a well-deserved Jazz Services tour. The line-up includes Riaan Vosloo’s subtle bass playing alongside Jim Blomfield’s piano and Mark Whitlam on drums.

But, naturally, there are some rival attractions and Wednesday night sees No Go Stop’s muscular tenor saxman John Pratt’s trio at Canteen and swing/jazz vocalist Molly King is in duo with pianist George Cooper at No 1 Harbourside. The ever-crowded Thursday has three more gigs, including singer/songwriter/saxophonist Becki Biggins at Future Inns. A long-time musical associate of Paul ’19’ Hardcastle, the Grammy-nominated Biggins has had big record success in the US and Germany and will be launching her new EP D.I.Y. Meanwhile, over at the Coritap fans of funk’n’fusion will be delighted by the new 6-piece version of the Rich O’Brien Project, the flamboyant bass guitarist having recruited vocalist Victoria Klewin to bring a Nu-Soul dimension to the band’s sound. Finally there’s exuberant alto sax funk and jazz from James Morton at his weekly Groove Den in The Gallimaufry.

A last pair of bookends to the week: on Monday (25) Canteen hosts its fortnightly Jazz Session  and on Sunday (31) vocalist Susie Fugle’s new acoustic project Espresso! appear at the Tobacco Factory.


PS Monday 25th also sees the monthly free jazz session at the Fringe Bar in Clifton (not the Mall), with a quartet of improvisers: quartet of Paul Anstey, double bass, Phil Gibbs, guitar, Mark Langford, tenor sax and bass clarinet, and Bob Helson, drums

One Comment leave one →
  1. Fiona permalink
    May 23, 2015 10:27 am

    Hi, Just to let you know we are also having a 1920’s style charity Fundraiser on May 29/05 at Trinity Arts Centre, with Jazz band The Searle Street Band coming from out of town to play for us! Tickets can be found on Bristol Ticket Shop.

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