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Disinterested recommendations

May 20, 2018

A confession: now and again I urge attendance at a gig here because I’m going, and I’d like there to be a decent crowd. The audience for the various weekly jazz gigs in Bristol isn’t huge. Nor is the readership of this little blog (discounting a recent, puzzling rise in hits from the USA – hello, mysterious American readers!)  Still, a few more listeners  sometimes turn a routine gig into one with real atmosphere.

However – recent domestic complications (good ones: not relevant here) mean I won’t manage any of the gigs I’m about to mention. So here are some disinterested recommendations, of things I’ll be sorry to see pass me by.

First up is trumpeter Loz Speyer’s Inner Space quintet at the BeBop club on Friday. Been looking forward to that one for a while as they don’t tour very often, play in the post-Ornette freebop vein (with some township vibes here and there) more convincingly than most other people ever manage, and have a superb line-up (two saxes – Chris Biscoe & Rachel Musson – & the redoubtable Olie Brice on bass. I loved their latest CD, too. The chance to hear them live is one not to miss. I will, sadly, but you don’t have to.

Ditto for Ed Jones at the Hen and Chicken on Sunday next (May 27). He’s been one of our leading saxophone voices now for decades, always puts in a convincingly gritty effort, and has a fine new recording to show off. Bound to be a great night.

Also wistful about Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita at Bath Festival on Tuesday – harp and kora such a great combination, and this duo’s recordings are magical.

Then there’s the Stroud jazz festival, next Friday through Sunday, with an excellent line-up at the less posh end of the Cotswolds: Ivo Neame’s brilliant quintet are a major draw, but quite a few excellent Bristol outfits are popping up the M5 – Dakhla Brass, who don’t play nearly enough dates, Andy Novak’s trio, Eyebrow (of whom more anon), Feelgood Experiment, and the Tom Waits project that goes out as Swordfish Trombone. Add a score of other bands from Cheltenham and round about Gloucester and it is an impressively programmed weekend in a very nice town – which I confidently anticipate missing in its entirety. Ah well, next year, definitely!

P.S. Here’s Tony Benjamin’s regular weekly preview with more on all these gigs, and some more.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris L permalink
    May 21, 2018 7:03 am

    Thanks for providing intelligence on the “secret” Stroud Jazz Festival. I subscribe to “Jazzwise” magazine but no mention of this festival there or anywhere else for that matter. The Stroud organisers almost got away with flying this one under the wire in complete secrecy but they didn’t get past you, Jon. Did you work in arts espionage at Bletchley or Cheltenham in the past? I must admit to a sense of wonder that the jazz community can carry on its subversive business without attracting the attention of most people with good money to spend. In fact, I am always frightened that I will stumble upon the jazz equivalent of the Marie Celeste where I arrive at gig which is strangely completely deserted with half drunk pints of beer and musical instruments still warm but no other sign of humankind. Happily, thanks to you and Tony Benjamin, I will be able to join a small but enthusiastic throng to see Mammal Hands, Loz Speyer and Ed Jones at various Bristol venues this week.

    • May 21, 2018 7:44 am

      Ha! Well, to be fair, Stroud was listed in Jazzwise festival guide a couple of months back, but they haven’t made much of it otherwise I guess. Think it began small and mainly local and has now grown a bit. See you at Mammal Hands 🙂


  1. Bristol jazz this week – 29 May | Mainly jazz in Bristol

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