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Bristol jazz week – 10 Jan

January 10, 2016

Tony Benjamin’s jazz notes for the coming week.

Jazz week Jan 11-17

Ok, better have a nice quiet start to the week because it really hots up from Wednesday 13 onwards, when the Jim Blomfield Trio hit the Fringe session (which is now back at the actual Fringe Bar, if you remember). Jim never disappoints and his recent appearance with Greg Cordez really was astounding so this well established threesome with Tosh Wijetunde (bass) and Mark Whitlam (drums) is certain to be on top form.

Then it’s down to Future Inn on Thursday (14) for  Atlas, a new project by London-based (but Bristol-raised) pianist Rebecca Nash that also includes trumpeter Nick Malcolm who was also a splendid part of Greg’s quintet that night. Rebecca’s music is characterised by thoughtful economy and fine dynamic control, both as player and bandleader.

Friday night, and for the courageous it’s the opening of Howling Owl weekend at the Arnolfini – three days of ‘forward-thinking music, art and noise’. Those prefering to hedge their bets can expect more recognisable (but probably no less inventive) music from the Jake McMurchie Quartet (Bebop, Friday 15) when the Get the Blessing saxophonist teams up with guitarist Dan Waldman, bass player Riaan Vosloo and Bebop mailman Andy Hague himself on drums. That’s a formidable line-up and suggests Jake will be exploring his powerful Rollins-esque side as well as more contemporary influences.

And then it’s Sunday 17 and for those not howling with the owls there’s an interesting spectrum of choices: the Alma Tavern features Denny Ilett & friends, a regular residency of classic swing and modern jazz led by the eclectic guitarist, while the Tobacco Factory offers Eyebrow, trumpeter Pete Judge’s ambient electro-acoustic duo with drummer Paul Wigens. Finally – and probably the biggest draw of the evening (if not the week) – there’s Hotel Bristol at the Hen and Chicken. This groove-based project was initiated by Andy Sheppard with Denny Ilett, Percy Pursglove (bass/trumpet) and Mark Whitlam (drums), however given Denny’s obligations elsewhere it will feature highly promising young guitarist Matt Hopkins whose stylish jazz-rock contributions to Sefrial are an important part of their sound.

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