Jazz in Bristol this week

As Tony Benjamin says in his weekly roundup (below) it’s a diary of local players’ ensembles this week – counting the excellent Dave Newton as one of ours…

However, there’s one exciting visitor next Sunday (14th) when the superb pianist Dan Tepfer offers a recital at St George’s. It’s not exactly classical, not exactly jazz, but inhabits an enticing area in between. How? Tepfer, who has equal facility either way, performs Bach’s Goldberg variations… with variations. That is, you will hear the 30 original variations, each followed by a related improvisation by Tepfer. (This review explains it well).

The original set often appeals to jazz keyboard artists. Keith Jarrett has recorded it on harpsichord (of course he has). Our own John Law issued a splendid version, with some tasteful electronic additions before and after, last year, and that may be heard live soon. In the meantime, this one is a delicious prospect. As another reviewer, in Jazz Times, said, Tepfer makes Bach “a colleague in joy”.

Here’s how, on just one variation. (You can listen to a complete performance on YouTube as well, if you’ve an hour and a half to spare)

Before then….Jazz week February 8-14

Does Dave Newton count as a local hero? He’s a Scot who lives on the South Coast and has a thoroughly deserved status as one of the UK’s finest jazz musicians, so Bristol’s claim on him would be dubious. Yet, happily, we see him play on a regular basis whether as a crucial sideman to other players, a deft and sensitive accompanist to singers or leading his many and various trio configurations. An intriguing example of a Dave Newton Trio is arguably the gig of the week when he plays The Fringe (Wednesday 10) in a drumless threesome with the Steele brothers Nat (vibraphone) and Luke (bass). Nat has that classic bebop vibe style – cool as you like – and with Dave’s seemingly limitless imagination the combination should be thrilling.If you can’t squeeze into the Fringe that night, however, you could catch Kevin Figes Quartet at Canteen, and enjoy the saxophonist’s long-established chemistry with pianist Jim Blomfield.

Thursday night (11) sees a choice of unarguably local players, with the ever-heroic Bristolian violinist John Pearce bringing his emotionally charged swing and bop to Future Inn, while the cooler ambient piano of relocated Dutch film composer Daan Temminkk features at the Old Market Assembly and, finally, Ayesha Akkari & Henry Binning represent the new post-Uni generation of jazz talent with Ayesha’s classic jazz and Latin vocalsdown at No 1 Harbourside.

Friday night (12) sees the beginning of the much-vaunted Radio 6 Music festival – not much jazz on offer but Ayesha’s former band Feelgood Experiment will be playing their global jazz-rock at the Assembly and the Iceman Furniss Quintet will be making their ‘fully improvised, uncompromising and soulful punk art jazz’ at The Exchange. Cornet player Harry Furniss’s lot make interesting music – check the Roll For The Soul sample on their Soundcloud page. But of course the Bebop Club has no need of BBC branding for the Nick Dover Quartet with Nick’s melodic tenor sax playing nicely worked around George Cooper’s fluid piano harmonics.

The week rounds off with a session of mucho caliente Nu Yorican Latin jazz at the Alma Tavern (Sunday 14) courtesy of singing percussionist Tammy Payne and Chirimoya, her rhythm-packed celebration of Tito Puente and the like.

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