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Bristol jazz this week – Nov 23

November 23, 2015

A late posting this week (my fault, not Tony Benjamin’s) – due to delightful weekend distractions of the London Jazz festival. But for those in need, here are Tony’s notes on the forthcoming week’s jazz in Bristol.

Jazz Week Nov 23-29

Freedom is in the chilly November air, it seems, and a wave of top improvising musicians descend on the city … well, there’s a couple of good gigs, at least: Wednesday’s Fringe @ The Mall (25) welcomes the heavily seasoned Paul Dunmall Trio, the mighty saxophonist (and bagpiper) joined as ever by John Edwards (bass) and Mark Sanders (drums). Years of collaboration have honed this to one of the best improvising outfits in Europe. Equally enticing – it’s billed as ‘not for the fainthearted’ – is the Ape/The de Selby Codex double bill at The Exchange the following Saturday (28). Scheduled for lunchtime the de Selbies are a six-piece that includes Fringe free jazz regulars Langford, Gibbs and Anstey with Spaceways’ drummer Roger Skerman, while Ape is the more intimate duo of Mike Walter (sax) and Paul Shearsmith (pocket trumpet).

If you want something a bit more nailed down, however, then there’s plenty of choice: the John Pearce Quartet comes to the Old Duke (Wed 25) with mighty drummer Ian Matthews likely to lay it on the line, while guitarist Mike Lawrence’s Groovelator (Canteen) will be fusion-frenetic on the same night. Sunday’s Alma Tavern session (29) has classy local tribute band Milli-Meters playing classic swampy New Orleans funk-jazz. There’s a couple of vocalists on offer, too, with young soul-jazz singer Holly Wellington in duo with guitarist Alun Elliott-Williams (No 1 Harbourside, Thursday 26) and the meticulous swing swinger James Lambeth Quartet at the Colston Hall Foyer (Friday 27) – the same night as the annual Harbourside visit from the Spiegeltent kicks off with the self-explanatory White Mink Electroswing review.

But the two top (un-free) highlights must be local quintet Sefrial (Future Inn, Thursday 26) and visiting Danish guitarist Kristian Borring (Bebop, Friday 27). The former are a band that continues to reshape and develop, now playing mostly original stuff of an individual contemporary jazz-rock kind, while the latter is a fine composer of rhythmic and attractive jazz delivered with ‘crisp coolness’ on guitar with regular sidemen Arthur Lea (piano), Mick Coady (bass) and Jon Scott (drums).


And one more from me. Trumpeter Dave Mowat‘s multinational Bristol European Jazz Ensemble debuts a potentially intriguing new collaboration with Dutch singer Anne Chris on Saturday 28th at St Stephen’s Church – there’ll be tickets on the door or you can buy in advance from St Stephens Cafe or Bristol Ticket Shop. You can hear some of her style in this clip.



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