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Bristol Jazz week, Oct 11

October 11, 2015

We appear to have hit peak jazz in Bristol this week, festivals aside – let Tony Benjamin explain.

October 12-18

Well it’s one of those weeks from hell, I’m afraid, by which I mean there’s far too much happening for a normal human jazz-loving being to keep on top of things without losing at least some of their marbles on the way. Impossible, really, to pick a ‘top tip’ gig so you’ll just have to make your own mind up between:

Andy Sheppard ‘The Divine Paradox’ (St George’s, Tuesday 13) – a specially commissioned choral work with Andy, Will Harris and Italian percussion wizard Michele Rabbia;

Ian Ballamy Quartet(Fringe @ The Mall, Wednesday 14) featuring Percy Pursglove’s trumpet/bass virtuosity alongside Iain’s sumptuous sax playing;

the hipster-friendly, Alice Coltrane inspired, modal Indo-jazz of the Matthew Halsall Gondwana Orchestra (St George’s, Thursday 15);

the passionate sax playing of Sam Crockett (Future Inn, Thursday 15) in a quartet with Jim Blomfield;

US guitar star Joel Harrison’s Spirit House (Bebop Club, Friday 16) direct from New York and featuring Jeremy ‘Bean’ Clemons drumming.

See what I mean? And there’s even The Grandmothers of Invention (Fleece, Sunday 18) reviving the music of Frank Zappa or Denny meets the Hammonds (Alma Tavern, Sunday 18)if you’re still standing by then. The former is a bunch of ex-Mothers players, the latter Mr Ilett hooking up with keyboard player Ruth and drummer Scott of that ilk.


That’s quite a calendar for a medium-sized city, especially coming on top of memorable gigs from Aaron Parks at St George’s and Andy Hague’s 50th birthday big band celebration the day after, among others. I’ll be starting with the Bristol Green Capital commission from Andy Sheppard on Tuesday because my usual gig companion is in the massed ranks of the choir who will be realising Andy’s work. It’s quite tricky, I gather…  Tony’s previewed it for Bristol247 here.

Then we’ll have to see, although the idea of the quality of US players Joel Harrison brings to town performing in the BeBop club is, as always, rather amazing. I reviewed Harrison’s latest CD here – same name fore the band, different line-up, but some fascinating music.

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