Bristol jazz week, Sep 21
Tony Benjamin’s highlights for the coming week. But before them don’t forget there’s a top notch Anglo-US trio tonight (Sunday) at the Hen and Chicken. Pianist Barry Green is joined by two New York stars – Chris Cheeck on sax, Gerald Cleaver on drums – with whom he’s recently recorded. Should be a superb night, leaving me really wishing I wasn’t unavoidably out of town… Enjoy if you can make it!
jazz Week, Sept 21-27
An eclectic week seems to beckon from Wednesday night (23) onwards when The Old Duke hosts the long-established Budapest Ragtime Band an 8-piece outfit dedicated to the classic styling of early jazz as well as the anarchic musical parody of Spike Jones. It’s an unfortunate clash with the Ben Waghorn Quartet up at the Fringe @ The Mall, as Ben’s eloquent hard-bop saxophone is always a treat and the band also includes Jim Blomfield (piano), Thad Kelly (bass) and Andy Hague (trumpet). The evening’s third option is down at Canteen where Dakhla’s ace baritone sax-player Charlotte Ostafew is playing in Gypsy swing trio Bartoune. There’s similar disparity on Thursday night (24) when the the Anglo-French Orchestra Pirouette appears at Canteen and The Steele Brothers & Dave Newton appear at the Future Inn session. The Pirouettes are a splendidly shambling collective formed to play for the Giffords Circus and have that Gallic anarchy thing, combining good fun and good music in equal measure, and they will be livelying up No 1 Harbourside on Friday 25, too. While Dave Newton’s excellence as a pianist needs no introduction the London-based Steele Brothers (Nat and Luke) are less known hereabouts. Nat’s steely vibraphone has the percussive deliberateness of Milt Jackson, an acknowledgedinfluence, and a great ear for improvisation, while Luke’s bass has accompanied the likes of Jim Mullen and Don Weller. And Friday gives another choice, with French saxophonist Julien Alenda’s Empyreal 4tet featuring down at the Bebop Club and bringing accomplished young pianist Tom Berge over from Bath. It’s a great band also featuring Pasquale Votino (bass) and Paolo Adomo (drums) that has really settled into its groove over the last year. The competition tonight is Barb Jungr, cabaret chanteuse par excellence, performing the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen at St George’s, probably not really jazz but definitely informed by some great jazz vocalists of the past. And don’t forget the regular sessions at Gallimaufry (Groove Den, Thursday), Old Fish Market (Sunday) and the original Bristol Fringe (Sunday).
One more to note from me: mainstream fans will want to catch Digby Fairweather playing for Speakeasy Jazz in Portishead on Friday 25th. Watch out for a new monthly session from the same promoter in Bristol, starting in a couple of weeks.