Bristol jazz week, Sep 18

Not sure what’s happening at Bristol247 – there’s a list of jazz gigs this week, with none of the usual informative commentary, and it’s posted in two parts (part one here). Still looks comprehensive, though.

Aside from interesting dates at the Gallimaufry and the Canteen, it’s also worth commenting that two notable tours pass through Bristol this week.

Future Inns on Thursday sees an 11-piece, no less, led by vibes player Jonny Mansfield. There are five horns, violin and cello, and two player who also sing, so the collective can do pretty much anything. Bristol luminary Will Harris plays bass, too, which is always a sign of a class outfit. The band appear on a forthcoming CD on Edition that recognises Mansfield’s award of the latest Kenny Wheeler prize. Here’s a taste of a review of their gig in Leeds a couple of nights ago.

I sat enthralled not simply by the wonderful skill and inventiveness of all eleven young players but above all by the compositions, intricate, varied in mood, rhythms, length and tone, put together in masterly fashion by the leader, Jonny Mansfield.

I say masterly – I’m understating hugely. This young man is surely destined to go places – there’s compositional genius flowering here. And if any argument’s to be made for gig v CD, this was it, a gig to remember with delight. You had to be there facing that huge wall of sound, listening intently to the cobwebs of delicacy, the occasional frenzy that Elftet produced for us over two hours.

I shouldn’t single out any one player for special mention for they all performed outstandingly. But I do remember the gloriously swinging vibes solo in the final number as perhaps my top moment. No, sorry, I DO have to mention Laura Armstrong, cellist and only two years into jazz, the only player not to solo, playing ensemble throughout and adding a very special bowed spice to the music. Along with flautist Ella Hohnen Ford, Laura’s another in the blossoming army of frontline women jazz musicians.

The night after, saxophonist Julian Costello’s open soundcheck tour comes to the BeBop club. It also features Maciek Pysz on guitars, Yuri Goloubev on bass and Adam Teixeira on drums, which should be recommendation enough. The “open soundcheck” adds appeal by allowing the audience into the room to see and hear the musicians setting up, getting a feel for the space, ansd generally making themselves comfortable. It’s an effort to break down the ritual of jazz gigs a little, and encourage more audience interaction – one reason this tour, like Mansfield’s, got Arts Council backing. Costello explains the idea here on LondonJazzNews.

Here’s a taste of the quartet with their other regular bassist, Michele Tacci.

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