Bristol jazz – Dec 17 ’til New Year

Here’s a full festive rundown from Tony Benjamin, running though ’til the tasty looking Bath jazz weekend just after New Year.

That’ll be a good way to begin 2019, but plenty of things on offer to round off your 2018 listening before then. I seem to be on a run if gigs that celebrate heroes (sort of) at the moment. Two last week, beginning with Darius Brubeck’s fine quartet at St George’s.

The audience was large and enthusiastic, and clearly had a big share of people who had heard Brubeck the elder (I think I did, once, but can’t remember when or where). Darius, 70-odd himself now, has found a gracious way to deal with this. You’d think having a superstar dad could be a drag, especially if you choose the same instrument. He seems to have decided to treat it as a great gift.

And so it is. Dad left a vast book of compositions to explore, and these are mixed in with Darius’s own, and a few South African tunes (well, just the one tonight, but this one from Zim, which I love).

As that shows, Darius is no mean piano player himself, and has a superb band – Brandon Allen in the video, Dave O’Higgins more regularly, and Matt Ridley on bass both excelling themselves. And they confine themselves to just a couple of the Brubeck lollipops, the first set ending with Blue Rondo a la Turk, the second with “the tune that put the Brubeck boys through college”, Take Five. Which actually still sounds pretty cool when it’s delivered this well. No envelopes were pushed out of shape, but a thoroughly enjoyable evening, honouring a legacy in the best possible way.

And much the same applies to Friday at the BeBop club, when Terry Quinney played in tribute to Stan Getz. Given Getz’s always effortless-sounding technical accomplishment that’s a pretty demanding brief, but he carried if off as if it was mainly just fun – with support from Phil Doyle on piano, Will Harris on bass and Andy Hague on drums. The tunes were ones associated with Stan, rather than composed by him – with one exception – but that gives a wider range (a couple of Jobim’s, of course, but plenty of others too. And all excellently timed so that slipping out before the last number permitted meeting the other pair of ears off the airport bus, so we’re both now installed here for the holiday and may benefit from some of the dates listed for the next few weeks.

Meantime, have a listen to Iain Ballamy and Jason Rebello’s Xmas carols, which they’ve been adding to on soundcloud for years and now make up a full recital that’ll see you through Christmas dinner, and may entice you to hear their quartet in Bath during the jazz weekend in Jan. See you there?


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