Keeping good company – Martin Speake next week

I’ve lost the habit of highlighting upcoming gigs but here’s a good one that’s got me excited in advance. Altoist Martin Speake has had a long career making music of startllngly high quality, without ever establishing a high profile. His style is cool, but with an Ornettish edge, and he’s a terrific melodic and rhythmic explorer.

There have been a host of projects over the years, and he’s invariably kept good company. Two recent Bristol gigs I can recall are good examples. His trio with Mike Outram and Jeff Williams played one of the best nights I ever heard at the “Old” Fringe a few years back. A few weeks later he turned up at St George’s with a quartet including Ethan “Bad Plus” Iverson, a great set that is available on Bandcamp as a complement to their earlier studio album.

Next week he brings another enticing line-up to Jazz at the Fringe’s new venue at Bristol Music Club. It’s the first night of a tour that ends up at the Vortex in London, featuring a new quartet, Universal Connection, with Hans Koller –  Piano, Anders Christensen –  Double Bass, and Anders Mogensen – Drums.

Here’s a bit from the blurb.

“Koller and Speake both worked with bassist Anders Christensen during his 10 year stay in London. Copenhagen-based Christensen has toured and recorded with countless jazz legends, and is probably best known for his 12 years touring and recording with Paul Motian.

Christensen and Anders Mogensen have worked together as a celebrated Danish rhythm team throughout the years, and have been part of some of the most groundbreaking bands on the vibrant jazz scene in Scandinavia.

Mogensen is a busy sideman touring and recording with Jazz Greats such as: Bob Berg, David Liebman, Steve Swallow, Marc Johnson, Brecker Brothers, Gary Thomas, Django Bates, Tim Hagans, Walt Weiskopf, Lew Soloff and Ray Anderson.”

Sounds good. Here’s the ticket link.

And here’s a nice documentary just up on YouTube about life on the road with Iverson.

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