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Bristol jazz this week

July 12, 2017

This blog looks like it is getting into a summer lull -partly because I’m mostly out of town this week. If you’re interested in such things, you’ve probably tracked down Tony Benjamin’s weekly gig guide by now (Weds evening). Just in case you haven’t here’s the link – and it does have more stuff near the end of the week than the beginning.

I’ve been wondering again whether to wind down here, tbh. It gets few hits, although of course if I posted more interesting stuff…  A bit uninspired in this dept, at the moment, though. I have been keeping this little site going for eight years, which feels like a long stretch.

I’ll probably carry on for now, but don’t expect more than a gentle tickover – at least for the next couple of months when I’m finishing a book to a deadline.

Meanwhile, you will find me on LondonJazzNews from time to time – see these recent CD reviews, for example.

Monk – Liaisons Dangereuses 


George Colligan – More Powerful

(definitely the best design…)

Olie Brice quintet – Day after Day


Misha Mullov-Abbado – Cross-Platform Interchange

Tim Armacost – Time Being


Loz Speyer’s Inner Space – Life on the Edge

Andreas Schaerer – The Big Wig



Looks like one a month so far this year, about the same as I managed in 2016, so I guess with the odd bit of live reviewage on the same site I haven’t been as idle on the jazz front as I thought, you just wouldn’t necessarily guess it from here. The solution (if you care) is of course to follow on twitter, where my world-beating efforts at self promotion tend to start… and finish.












Bristol jazz week – 3 July

July 4, 2017
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Here as usual, link to Tony Benjamin’s jazz diary on Bristol247.

Have to say the Bristol offering just seems to get more varied each week. No Summer lull here – with the Fringe and Canteen still going strong, and gigs in Colston Foyer (a neglected after-work opportunity, sometimes, so hope they get a crowd for once) and even an extra Sunday date at Future Inns – so something for everyone…

Bristol jazz this week – June 26

June 27, 2017
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Didn’t manage any gigs last week – Boo. Ah well, here’s the regular rundown from Tony Benjamin on Bristol247 for the next seven days. The trio with Sarah Gail Brand and Mark Sanders, featuring the extraordinary Paul Rogers on bass, at the Fringe tomorrow (Weds) looks very promising. That is all.

Hot jazz

June 21, 2017

Too hot to go any gigs just now, I reckon. However, (in the absence of a listing elsewhere so far this week ignore that – here it is), it’s probably worth being a bit sweaty to hear the superb Iain Ballamy play at the Fringe tonight.

A cooler venue (in at least one sense) is Future Inns, who present Matt Hopkins’ Metheny project – well reviewed last time out – on Thursday. It’s a great band that includes Will Harris, Dave Newton, John Pearce and Emily Wright, with Mark Whitlam on drums completing a stellar line-up. Pat Metheny’s songbook is huge, so the band have a lot of scope to explore great compositions.

It was good, incidentally, to see a decent audience down there last week for Alison Rayner‘s quintet, getting a good dose of the excellent Steve Lodder on rather brilliant form. A fun band, with some nice original tunes, including Lodder’s OK Chorale – no relation to the Phronesis number of the same name, but just as interesting.

The weather will have turned by Sunday night, but it’s likely to be pretty hot in The Hen and Chicken, I imagine, when there’s a welcome appearance by Andy Sheppard’s Pushy Doctors trio with Tony Orrell and Dan Brown. This standards-with-a-twist outfit play jazz, rock and pop tunes as the fancy takes them, and are always outrageously enjoyable. They used to be regulars in pubs and clubs across Bristol and Bath but now Sheppard has moved abroad this is a rare chance to see them reunited.

Sheppard is actually in town for a grander project, which sees him appear at Clifton Cathedral the night before with the 70-strong Bristol Symphony Orchestra, for a programme of Copeland (Fanfare for the Common Man), Gershwin (Porgy and Bess), and Bernstein (west Side Story), finishing with Terry Riley’s “In C”. Should be fascinating. Details and tickets here.


Bristol jazz week – free music abounds

June 13, 2017
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Here’s Tony Benjamin’s meticulously compiled list this week’s interesting musical offerings around town on Bristol247.

Plenty to choose from, and can’t help noticing that there are three pay-to-enter gigs and, buy my count, more than twice as many that are free for punters.

All a testament to the musical vitality of the city. But if you enjoy one of the freebies, do donate to the bucket – or whatever receptacle is on offer – won’t you? It’ll help ensure the music goes on…

One other date to note – If you’re in reach of Portishead, Dave Mowat’s Bristol European Jazz Ensemble have a date at the Speakeasy Jazz Club in the High Street on Friday.

Bristol jazz week (with bonus Tuesday gig)

June 6, 2017
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Another bumper week of gigs – they just keep coming. Tony Benjamin has all the details here on Bristol247.

The all day feast of improvisation on Saturday at St Stephens is the standout, as he says (see previous post here). Also worth noting the unusual appearance of an early evening foyer gig tonight (Tuesday) at Colston, when Jake McMurchie’s quartet will pull in some homebound commuters, I hope.

And don’t forget the BeBop club on Friday, where their season closer features Nick Dover and Nick Malcolm‘s quartet. Haven’t made it down there much recently, but that’s not because the quality of the music on offer isn’t consistently high. Look forward to seeing who they line up when the club returns in September.

Tony also has a generously proportioned review of the excellent double bill at Colston on Sunday, although he’s more polite about Jay Phelps‘ winsome vocals than I would manage to be. They nearly had us heading for the doors before the second set was properly under way. Glad we didn’t though, as the instrumental numbers – especially the set closer and the encore – were excellent. And the wonderful Mark Lewandowski, soon to join the Julliard ensemble, really did sound like the next Dave Holland. The last bass players who enthralled like this on first hearing were Jasper Hoiby and Percy Pursglove. He’s one of a select group who I’m sure I’ll go on listening out for as long as I can.

Bristol Jazz diary

May 31, 2017

Late link to Tony Benjamin’s weekly previews, including welcome news that the rather brilliant Dan Messore is visiting the Canteen tonight (Wednesday).

He’s also done a separate piece for Bristol247 interviewing Jay Phelps, to whet the appetite for the Sunday night gig previewed in the last post here. He’s also heard the new album (I hadn’t), so looking forward to hearing Phelps’ new stuff even more now. (I really hope the singing isn’t like Chet Baker’s, though).