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Bristol jazz week (and a couple of other things)

September 18, 2016

Tony Benjamin’s rundown of the coming week for Bristol247 is here. My own highlights below.

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Kinda thought The Headhunters at Colston Hall’s Lantern on Fri 23 would be sold out by now, but looks like there are still tickets (not seats – it’s a standing show, so not for the likes of me). They do have great chunes, so if you want to hear some funky 70s sounds, albeit without Herbie Hancock, Bennie Maupin, or the peerless drummer Harvey Mason whose beats, to my mind, were the making of the classic album, then that’s where you’ll need to be.

Other notable gigs this week include the great saxophonist Art Themen down at Future Inns on Thursday. Themen kept up a first rate jazz career for forty odd years while also working as an orthopedic surgeon. Since retiring from medicine a decade or so ago he’s just had to make the jazz gigs, and has been playing, if anything, better than ever. He’s best known as a long-time associate of Stan Tracey, from 1974 until the great pianist’s death, but has played with pretty much everybody, and has made a canny synthesis of Rollins, Gordon and Coltrane his own. Always a pleasure to hear him. Here he is playing with Stan back in the day, on soprano (when the Coltrane influence really comes out)

The day before (Weds) you can catch guitarist John Dalton‘s trio (with Jean-Paul Gard on organ) at the Fringe, and on Friday the BeBop features their second touring band in a row when they present drummer Corrie Dick‘s band. The personnel listing promised is an all star affair: Jessica Radcliffe – vocals, Tom Dennis – trumpet, George Crowley – sax, Rob Luft – guitar, Joe Webb – organ, Matt Robinson – piano, Conor Chaplin – bass, Felix Higginbottom – percussion and Corrie Dick – drums. Should be fun to see all of them trying to find space in the back room of the Bear.

Finally, two other events of interest to note. John Law is well-known as one of the finest jazz keyboard players in the region (or anywhere, really). Next Saturday he departs from jazz for a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in Bath. Law recorded the piece in 2015, with a little augmentation of his own, and you can hear the whole thing, with accompanying visuals at the Holburne Museum. I have the recording (one of four Goldbergs on our shelves) and it should be a special evening. It’s billed as 7.00-9.30 so I assume there’ll be some additional solo piano as well.

Not live but a National Theatre cinema relay, which is almost as good, you can catch the National’s musical production of The Threepenny Opera on Thursday at various venues (try the Odeon or the Showcase in Bristol). Brecht and Weill’s masterpiece has had many incarnations: this looks like a good one. It would mean missing Art Themen, though, so I really can’t decide where to be that night.

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