Bristol Jazz week – June 13th: The music goes on…

Looking forward to the always excellent Huw Warren in a Brazilian-flavoured piano trio outing tomorrow night at the Hen and Chicken, and to Dakhla‘s album launch later in the week. Meantime, I’m listening to lots and lots of Ornette Coleman, and remembering the last two occasions we heard him – at Meltdown an unbelieveable six years ago, and at the London Jazz Festival a couple of years later. Both are memories I treasure – the reviews I did at the time are here and here if anyone’s interested. A very great man who enriched my life immeasurably.

Details of Dakhla and Tony Benjamin‘s other highlights for the coming week below.

Jazz week June 15-21

There’s a resounding void against Friday 20 in the Bristol jazz diary, marking the first week of the Bebop Club’s annual summer break and giving cause for a resounding chorus of gratitude to club organiser Andy Hague. As ever, the tiny backroom of The Bear has seen excellent gigs combining great visitors from the national scene and the best local modern and contemporary jazz outfits – top quality stuff. Though sometimes playing to woefully small audiences. It’s clearly a case of ‘use it or lose it’ so let’s be resolved to get there more regularly when it resumes in September.

In the meantime, however, all is not entirely lost and there’s a few eye-catchers this week, starting with a regrettable saxophone face-off on Wednesday 17 when the Kevin Figes Quartet plays at the Fringe @ The Mall session and Greg Cordez & Sam Crockatt bring their quartet to the Canteen. Kevin’s versatility and melodically memorable compositions always emerge afresh, not least thanks to his long-standing partnership with Jim Blomfield’s distinctive piano playing. Local bass player Greg Cordez’ links with Loop Collective saxman Sam Crockatt is a much more recent development that should be very interesting. Both are excellent players, naturally, but also highly structured composers who weave improvisation into quite disciplined pieces.

Even more tightly structured music follows at Future Inn on Thursday night (18) as the ebullient Dakhla Brass launch Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla, their new CD and the first to celebrate the fulsome 5-piece line-up since trombonist Liam Treasure joined the band. Their blend of influences from Africa to New Orleans and even Brighouse & Rastrick remains joyously unique, while the equally joyous Brass Junkies have a closer link to US brass outfits like Youngblood, Hypnotic 8 and others. They are appearing at Plantation (Friday 20) which means you can dance and get great plantain flitters as well!

Pushy Doctor keyboardist Dan Moore and Brackish guitarist Luke Cawthra both used to be in the much missed soul-jazz outfit Phantom Limb, and they have teamed up with Tom Kuras (bass) and Dakhla’s drummer Matt Brown to become Milli Meters , a tribute to a certain New Orleans jazz-funk outfit of renown. That’s a very enticing line-up so their gig at the Alma Tavern (Sunday 21) should be a cracker. Jazz-funk fans should also check big-sounding and brassy Wasabi at Canteen on Thursday 18

The Gallimaufry’s having a good week, too, with the regular James Morton’s Groove Den session on Thursday (18) slightly upstaged by Tuesday’s soul-jazz spectacular featuring the vocal talents of Mos Def diva Terri Walker and local boy Jay Wilcox and a classy jazz’n’b line-up behind playing material from her new album Entitled.

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