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Bristol jazz this week – Oct 31

October 31, 2016
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There’s an astounding band almost reaching Bristol this Wednesday. Bassist Michael Janisch has put together tours for some pretty remarkable multinational ensembles in the last few years, making use of his US and UK jazz connections as an expatriate Yank living and recording bands in London. But the latest may be the best yet. Drummer Andrew Bain‘s new recording features top drawer pianist George Colligan along with the free-spirited saxophonist Jon Irabagon and Janisch. Irabagon, as far as I know, has only been over the the UK once before, with the feisty Mostly Other People Do the Killing, but to my ear is one of the most interesting horn players out there just now. OK, they don’t make Bristol until a date at the Hen and Chicken on Nov 13th, but you can pop over the Cardiff and catch the tour opener on Weds 2nd at Dempsey’s if you prefer. I’m tempted.

On the other hand, you’d miss Josh Kemp’s Rare Groove that night at the Fringe, with Kemp on sax and the excellent Steve Fishwick on trumpet along with Liam Dunachie on organ and Tim Giles, who seems to be a regular Bristol visitor just now, on drums.

Thursday sees Jake McMurchie bring his quartet to Future Inns with Will Harris on bass, Dan Waldman on guitar and Matt Brown on drums. This is McMurchie in more straight jazz form than you’ll hear in Get the Blessing or Michelson-Morley, the band promising “originals, a few choice standards, plus a handful of tunes rarely heard in a jazz context by composers such as Tom Waits and Nick Drake”.

Then on Friday there’s a return to Bristol for pianist John Donegan, who I don’t know but has an illustrious past in the city according to BeBop club mastermind Andy Hague:

Pianist John Donegan was one of Bristol’s most in demand players through the early 90s. Originally from Cork, John is now based in London and plays a hard swinging style of piano reminiscent of Wynton Kelly and Red Garland, with a touch of Bill Evans for the ballads. It’s always great to see him back in Bristol, and for tonight he’s teamed up with the brilliant saxophonist Ben Waghorn, international jet-setter Greg Cordez on bass, recently back from a sojourn in the USA, and a rare appearance from Simon Gore on drums who used to play in John’s band when he lived here.

Those are the main things to note this week, I think. Also time to check your diary and plan for two contrasting dates showing off state of the art piano trios – The Bad Plus at Colston Hall on Nov 7th and my personal favourites Phronesis the week after at St George’s (Nov 15th). Shaping up to be a rewarding month…

NB: the promise of November is reinforced by Tony Benjamin’s preview this week for Bristol247, which mentions several gigs I missed in my own quick roundup.


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