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Bristol jazz week – 18 October.

October 17, 2015

As expected, that was quite a week. Hot on the heels of Andy Hague‘s excellent big band gig (reviewed by Tony Benjamin here) we had another Bristol special with Andy Sheppard‘s choral spectacular at St George’s. Tony reviewed that too, as well as catching Matthew Halsall at St George’s on Thursday. I didn’t catch that, but managed one set of superb music (half the evening, after which we were too tired to hear any more – wouldn’t it be nice if some weeknight jazz club gigs started before 9.00 pm?) from Ian Ballamy and Percy Pursglove at The Fringe on Wednesday, and a full helping of a truly unusually good show from Joel Harrison’s Spirit House at the BeBop club on Friday.

However (deep breath) the jazz continues. And here, with the usual thanks for meticulous compiling and sage commentary, are Tony’s gigs of note for the coming week. Maybe  not quite as spectacular, but still plenty to choose from here!

October 19-25

There’s a brash start to things this week: Canada’s Souljazz Orchestra (Lantern, Monday 19) are a kind of timeless world-jazz fusion, full of energy and tight arrangements made for dancing and well-matched local support act Matuki should find a bigger audience through the gig. Another similarly groovy local outfit – George Mabuza Group – will be at The Old Duke (Thursday 22). The week’s most enticing visitor comes to the Bebop (Friday 23) in the shape of the prodigious young Misha Mullov-Abbado Quintet, another project from the thriving scene that brought us trombonist Tom Green’s excellent septet. Misha is an award-winning bass player composing interesting and eclectic tunes and the band is a real firecracker. Finally – outsiderness – you might want to head over to Bath for the Sirkis/Bialas International Quartet (Burdall’s Yard, Friday 23), which unites percussion master Asaf Sirkis with extraordinary Polish vocalist Sylwia Bialas and also features bassist Patrick Bettison’s jazz harmonica.

Otherwise it’s a fine array of local favourites, though guitarist Dan Messore (Future Inn, Thur 22) is no longer of this parish. His trio with Dan Moore (keys) and Matt Brown (drums) should have a distinctive sound thanks to Messore’s original approach to playing that references both Bill Frisell and American primitive John Fahey. The indomitable violin/piano pairing of John Pearce & Dave Newton are at the Fringe @ The Mall (Wednesday 21) on the same night as contemporary quintet Bristol European Jazz Ensemble appear at with the energetic Brass Junkies also playing that venue on Friday (23). On Saturday (24) there’s a revival of the highly successful When Ella Met Frank, an evocation of those two great singers by Celestine Walcott-Gordon and Denny Ilett with a slimmed down version of the Bruce-Ilett Big Band. It’s a fund-raiser for next year’s Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival and happens at the Redgrave Theatre in Clifton, and on your way home from that you could pop into No 1 Harbourside and catch the John Pratt 4tet. John’s playing in Afrobeat outfit No Go Stop has marked a growing confidence and maturity that is revealing much more of his ability.

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