OK so there’s something going on down the road and, inevitably, that means things are a little quiet back here in Bristol. But whether it’s fire-some sax jostling, fulsome world-grooving, exploratory vocal soundscaping or downright proper modern jazz you’re after there’s something to tempt you back home – and you won’t need to find your tent afterwards. Though if you are actually headed for Pilton then make straight for The Wormhole which is hosting a great programme of cutting edge bands from the Jazz Re:freshed/Brownswood hipster end of things. It’s all curated by the Worm Disco people who have been bringing many great jazz names to Bristol of late and the stage features Sons of Kemet, Comet Is Coming, Steam Down and Ishmael Ensemble among many others.
US saxophonist John O’Gallagher made a great impression at this year’s Jazz & Blues Festival, bringing his sharp and stylish alto to Rebecca Nash’ Atlas project. So it will surely be sparky when the Paul Dunmall & John O’Gallagher Quartet hit the Fringe (Wednesday 26), with Paul’s fulsome tenor and freethinking disposition always likely to open things up. Sefrial saxophonist Sophie Stockham switches from alto to tenor in Orphic (Future Inn, Thursday 27), with Pete Judge’s flugelhorn adding to the mellower tone of things in what is shaping up into a local favourite.
And then there’s Sefrial’s other saxophonist Jake McMurchie who joins the Greg Cordez Trio (El Rincon, Thursday 27) with new name Mattia Collu on drums. Bass player Greg is focusing on the great Charlie Hayden for this new project, with arrangements of the man’s classic tunes. More classics get a refreshed airing from Andy Hague’s Double Standards (Tobacco Factory, Sunday 30), the trumpeter’s hot quartet that features pianist George Cooper and an idiosyncratic choice of not-so-obvious jazz standards.
The big world grooving opportunity comes in the shape of Soothsayers (Old Market Assembly, Friday 28), the seasoned collective of Afro-reggae jazzers that includes another fiery reed player in the shape of Idris Rahman as well as the distinctive vocals of Julia Biel. It’s a highly danceable fusion, as is the Afro-Latin blues of Los Gusanos (No 1 Harbourside, Saturday 29).
The Cube’s Qwak Club nights are an eclectic audio-visual experience and the latest package (Saturday 29) includes the brilliant vocal layering of Cucina Povera as well as the exotic ‘high drama duet of sewing machine and tap dance’ that is Tapsew. You’ll have to be there … But if that seems a bit over-exciting maybe the minimalist ambient solo piano of Hexcut’s keyboard player Torsten Jensen at the Leading Lights Cafe would be a better bet.(Friday 28).
And finally a couple of guitar-led prog-futurists go head to head on the A38 on Thursday (27) with Brighton’s Poly-Math at Crofter’s Rights and local faves Hippo at the Gallimaufry. A hard choice for those catching up on their maths homework.