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Bristol jazz this week – Jan 29

January 29, 2018

Bonus links to Bristol 247, because tireless Tony Benjamin has two posts up on there today. At the risk of redundancy, I’m mainly going to agree with what they say.

His review here of last night’s first Bristol outing for the youngsters in Asterope is spot on. They did take a while to get warmed up, but by the end of the first set, with a number that had something of an M-base feel, were steaming along nicely. And all five players, not just Kenny Wheeler prize winner Tom Barford, contributed strongly. This quintet configuration, with piano, guitar and sax, can produce a rather crowded sound, and that happened a few times – the various trio sections were among the most effective. But this is a band which, if not yet fully mature, is full of promise. Impressive drummer Dave Storey seemed a more confident presence than the others, but I’m sure that will change as they all clock up more air miles. Full marks to Ian Storror for booking them in for the (not surprisingly) less than huge audience.

The regular list of upcoming gigs is here. It seems to cover all the essentials save for Future Inns – who feature John Pearce on Thursday – and the BeBop Club on Friday. They’re presenting Radio Banska, who are:

A Bath-based instrumental quintet delivering a jazz infused blend of Levantine mystery, Balkan passion and Latin rhythms expressed in exciting original compositions with a world music flavour. Radio Banska was founded in 2010 by Bath violinist Nina Trott and guitarist Dave Spencer, and has worked tirelessly across the southwest ever since. Following Nina’s sad passing in early 2017, the band has been rebooted with dynamic Bristol session man Craig Crofton out front on saxophone, the addition of world-music guitarist Phil Dawson, and Jon Clark on drums. “.. sounds from around the world – and also an adept contemporary jazz combo with unique material and a command of rhythms that go further than the average ‘ethnic’ outfit. Fine and distinctive players, too.” Craig Crofton – sax, Dave Spencer – guitar, Phil Dawson – guitar, Sol Ahmed – bass and Jon Clark – drums.

Before those two, note especially the double bill on Tuesday at a venue that doesn’t often feature jazz, Crofters Rights on Stokes Croft (just up and over the road from Hamilton House). Anything involving Rian Vosloo is worth hearing, and the other ensemble, Nick Malcolm’s Jade, were terrific on a visit to nearby Cafe Kino toward the end of last year. With another mention of the Crofters, a couple of things at the Gallimaufry, and sessions at the Canteen and the Left Bank, the majority of Tony’s list for this week are a stroll from my house… Oh I do like a really local gig.

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