Bristol jazz week – and a look back at London

Plenty of jazz action in Bristol this week – which you can study in detail here. I’m looking forward to the AKA trio at St George’s in a few days, and maybe Orphic on Sunday.

Which’ll give me time to digest the good things heard in London during the jazz festival. I’ve already raved about the Crosscurrents trio. The great Rhiannon Giddens on Friday was at a similar astonishing level – as I tried to convey in my review for London Jazz News. She is at the Forum in Bath tomorrow night, and I think there might be a few tickets left. Do go if you can: you won’t regret it.

I also caught the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who got a full review, but didn’t have time to write about an interesting new collaboration between Pianist Huw Warren and Irish singer Sue Rynhart. That looks like a duo that will develop if they can work together more, and is definitely one to look out for.

If you want an overview of the goings on in London, there are 30 or more other reviews on the Londonjazz site, including a nice piece about Bristol favourites Get the Blessing, fresh from their 20th birthday celebration, and many other good things. The Bristol scene is always interesting, but the London Festival has grown into something pretty remarkable over the last two decades. It has hundreds of shows, and although jazz festivals are two a penny nowadays it must have one of the broadest programmes of any. Looking forward to next year, by which time GWR’s new timetable will supposedly allow Bristol-London transit in 90 minutes!

Meantime, the Bristol Jazz and Blues festival has announced first details of its programme for 2020. It’s a little less ambitious than last year – money, you know – but with no loss of quality. And there’s a shift of venues, with the focus firmly on the Folk House and my favourite, St George’s. Good decision, I think. Read all about it here. And note that they are still crowdfunding, to help clear the festival’s accounts before the bills come in for all this good stuff next year.

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