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Bristol jazz week – Jan 7 (and last weekend in Bath)

January 7, 2019

The new jazz year got off to a rip-roaring start with the new Bath Jazz weekend. Nod Knowles put together a terrific programme, with support from the cream of local players, and they were rewarded with good crowds (a solid sellout for both Saturday sessions) and a late festive atmosphere that suited the first weekend in January.

Listeners were rewarded with fine sets from all concerned. Among the ones I managed to catch, Karen Street’s Streetworks were a real pleasure to hear live, with Will Harris confirming again that he has the most beautiful bass sound around these parts and Mike Outram playing some wonderfully varied and subtle guitar. Jason Rebello and Iain Ballamy’s quartet were as superb as reports of their first gig suggested and Get the Blessing were at their excellent, slick best on Saturday night. I only made it for one thing on Sunday, but it was John Law’s Recreations, who are going from strength to strength as they play together more and ended the whole weekend on an artistic high note. I won’t write more here as I’m expecting reviews from others soon – we’ll see*. **

After that treat, it’s back to almost normal as the local scene reawakens after the break. Tony Benjamin’s listing this week on Bristol 247  emphasises that you needn’t go without live music if you are feeling hard up after Xmas. And the gigs he highlights do remind me how many places in Bristol charge little or nothing for excellent music. Not so good for the players, I guess (do donate when asked, if you can). But how lucky we are to have such a selection of venues accessible to all.

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