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Bristol jazz highlights, Jan 25-31

January 23, 2016

Upcoming week dates, courtesy of Tony Benjamin, below. And if you’re thinking of heading for Gilad Atzman and Alan Barnes at the Hen and Chicken tomorrow night, here’s a review from earlier in their tour to encourage you.

Jazz week Jan 25-31

Good to see guitarist Cameron Pierre heading for the Bebop Club (Friday 29) with Anders Olinder (keys) and Andy Tween (drums) – at one time the latter were the ubiquitous rhythm section of choice hereabouts and they should make an excellent context for Pierre’s fluent playing. His long association with Courtney Pine’s heavily grooving bands never seemed to suit the guitarist’s style which harks back to the more classic influences of Wes Montgomery. Equally impressive is the appearance of Jazz Warriors vocalist Cleveland Watkiss with the Tom Harrison Quartet at the Hen & Chicken (Sunday 31), making the fourth in a weekly run of star visitors for Ian Storror’s increasingly popular session. It’s doubly impressive given Ian’s well-known imperviousness to vocal jazz, of course, but few would challenge Watkiss as one of the country’s best jazz singers and this pairing  with young sax talent Tom Harrison is a project exploring the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn who together created tunes like Satin Doll, Lush Life and many others.

Elsewhere it’s a busy week for Charlotte Ostafew’s lively baritone sax with the glorious and groovy Dakhla Brass appearing at the Fringe (Wednesday 27) and the retro-swinging Bartoune popping into the Alma Tavern (Sunday 31), while the Future Inn is offering a Dave Newton Trio (Thursday 28), though whether it’s the band with Matt Skelton and Tom Farmer that recorded Dave’s last movie-themed album ‘Big Screen Take 1’ they don’t say. Elsewhere that night there’s ‘hokum blues’ outfit The Hot House Four at the Old Duke and Canadian saxophonist Len Arulia in a duo with Anders Olinder at No 1 Harbourside.

The Canteen/No 1 Harbourside people now have a third venue, of course, with the Old Market Assembly and their weekly swing dance evening every Tuesday usually features a great band: this week (Tuesday 26) they have lively trad-swing youngsters Rhythm Pencils. The three venues are programmed by drummer John Blakeley whose star-packed Afrobeat outfit No Go Stop are at The Exchange (Saturday 30).

Finally – it should be time for the monthly Fringe Free Music at the Fringe (Monday 25) though their Facebook page doesn’t have any up to date details. The house foursome of Phil Gibbs (guitar), Paul Anstey (double bass), Mark Langford (bass clarinet and tenor sax) and Bob Helson (drums) are seasoned improvisers who know exactly what they’re about.

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