Rian Vosloo’s Uphill Game – Canteen, Dec 22

A quick one to note that this was a treat on a Sunday afternoon. Four of the best players in the city (bassist Vosloo, Matt Brown on drums, and the always creative pairing of Jake McMurchie and Pete Judge on sax and trumpet/flugel) in one band, last heard at the Jazz Festival in an extremely crowded session in the bar.

Thought this might be a repeat, as the Canteen – a great spot but also free to enter when music is offered – is usually amazingly noisy. But at this hour, although there was a pretty good crowd, they seemed there to listen. I’ve pretty much stopped going there in the evenings, which is a shame as it’s only down the road, but Sunday afternoon there definitely worth checking out more often.

And we had plenty to appreciate, a collection of lesser known tunes, and some old favourites (Cherry’s Mopti – well, my favourite anyway) given a serious workout. It may have been a relaxed end of year gig in festive surroundings, but the music got pretty intense, in a good way, especially in the second set. A great way to round off this year’s jazz (though we are going to St George’s tonight for some classy festive folk), and a reason to be pleased to be in Bristol for Christmas. This is a band that doesn’t get together all that often, but I’ll be looking out for any chances to hear them again next year.

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