Bristol jazz diary – March 7-13

Still time for a blast from Andy Hague‘s excellent big band at the Hen and Chicken tomorrow night (Sunday) to get you in the mood for the jazz festival in a couple of weeks – with some extras at the usual venues, too.

Looking for good music in between? Here’s Tony Benjamin‘s list for the coming week, which has plenty of good things to choose from.

Jazz week March 7-13

St George’s has always been a reliable source of international quality jazz evenings but of late they seem to have become rarer. All the more reason to welcome Tord Gustavsen (Thursday 10) and his new electro-acoustic project with Afghani-German vocalist Simin Tander and drummer Jarle Vespestad. Gustavsen’s piano compositions have always been deeply informed by Norwegian Christian traditions but the ECM-commissioned Hymns and Visions music goes farther, with Tander’s breathy vocals embracing Norwegian lyrics translated into Pashto and Sufi poetry translated into English. Sound designer Daniel Wold contributes an electronic dimension to the soundscape. Gustavsen’s performances have always had a good fit with St George’s churchy atmosphere and this should be a corker.

Rebecca Nash is another pianist capable of reflective moments in her playing but Atlas is a pretty forceful quartet that also includes the ever-probing trumpet of Nick Malcolm. The band are at Canteen on Wednesday 9, the same night as Andy Sheppard’s Pushy Doctors return to the Fringe, complete with drummer Tony Orrell who has greatly recovered from last year’s alarming health scare. It’ll be a case of first come first served in that tiny room! Hopefully there’ll be similar seating squabbles at the Bebop Club when Friday 11 marks the return of gutsy saxophonist Ed Jones’ Quartet. Having featured in the highly groovy ranks of US3 and Incognito and even appearing with Horace Silver in Japan there’s no doubting his quality and he also brings his long-standing bass sideman Riaan Vosloo – another good reason to catch the gig.

The week’s most enigmatic ‘suck it and see’ opportunity comes at Future Inns on Thursday 10 with the visit of Cinematic Orchestra guitarist Stuart McCallum whose solo acoustic guitar performances combine contemporary finger style guitar with loops and electronica to make very original folk-jazz soundscapes. More roots/jazz pleasures can be found with the Slimline Shufflers at Old Market Assembly (Thursday 10) and Joe Cribb Blues Band at Alma Tavern (Sunday 13). The former boast Eric Arthur’s livewire barrelhouse piano as well as ace blues harmonica from Henry Slim, the latter (sometimes known as Catfish) has the demon guitar pairing of Neil Smith and Luke Cawthra while vocalist Joe Cribbs also brings his cigar box guitar skills to Joe Cribbs & The Seed Drills, a powerful new trio with Spencer Brown (bass) and Matt Jones (drums), on Friday 11 at No 1 Harbourside.

And, finally, Hammond, Stockham & Brown (Colston Hall Foyer, Saturday 12) is an interesting new groove and funk collaboration between Dakhla/Sefrial alto saxophonist Sophie Stockham, Brass Junky Ruth Hammond in keyboard mode and the ubiquitous drumming of Matt Brown.

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