Music / Jazz

Bristol’s week in jazz, September 30-October 6 2019

By tony benjamin, Monday Sep 30, 2019

There’s a strong influence from English folk music about two of this week’s jazz highlights, as well as the classic combination of poetry and improvised music and a couple of stylishly original acts passing through.

But no Fringe! The usually indefatigable Wednesday session is off for a couple of weeks while they fix the roof.

There’s not much traditional English music on the ECM label, but there’s the impeccable jazz credentials of pianist Huw Warren and saxophonist Iain Ballamy behind vocalist June Tabor in Quercus (St George’s, Wednesday 2).  The trio carve an exquisitely balanced chamber music from a mix of folk song and offbeat pop/rock numbers, enhanced by the spine-chilling clarity of June’s emotionally direct voice.

Having recently returned to the West Country, clarinettist and singer Kate Luxmoore was inspired to build a project around The English Songbook. The Kate Luxmoore Group  (The Forge, Friday 4) take traditional Somerset tunes as the starting point for a globally influenced jazz approach, with tabla guest Pritam Singh joining them for this gig. More Middle Eastern and Yiddish roots inform Chai For All (Canteen, Wednesday 2), with singer/storyteller Marianna Moralis a vibrant presence in their jazz-tinged performances.

One of the country’s biggest jazz ‘influencers’ comes to town in the shape of BBC 6’s Gilles Peterson (Anson Rooms, Friday 4). As DJ, promoter and record label boss Gilles has been a tireless champion of jazz since the 80s when he more or less invented the ‘acid jazz’ revival of boogaloo. To this day his imprimatur guarantees an audience for whatever is cutting edge and his Brownswood record label is a veritable stable of the hippest.

One very hip act to have slipped through Mr Peterson’s net is Austrian hang drum virtuoso Manu Delago, whose music ranges from fully orchestral classical pieces to folk-jazz and world music fusions. The inspiration for the Manu Delago Circadian Ensemble (Fiddlers, Tuesday 1) came from the disrupted sleep patterns he experienced touring with the likes of Bjork and Cinematic Orchestra. The band’s full string sound and resonant woodwind are driven along by Manu’s vigorous use of the hang as a multi-toned percussion instrument.

Improvisatory piano trio Treppenwitz  (Future Inn, Thursday 3) emerged some five years ago from the fertile DIY music scene in Leeds. Since then they have honed their group empathy through touring and recording, building a tight musical sound inspired by Paul Bley, Ornette Coleman and other free-thinkers.

Though best known as a pioneer vocalist in the free music world since the 70s, Julie Tippetts has always been a poet and lyricist. Her  solo albums like Sunset Glow and Shadow Puppeteer showcase her songs as well as her unique vocal talent. Julie will be appearing  as one of the Before Poets (Greenback, Wednesday 2) in an evening of poetry and improvised music also featuring Steve Day and his Blazing Flame quintet.

Wordsmithery and jazz encounter each other in a more hip-hop way at The Gallimaufry (Thursday 3) when residents Snazzback invite MC/poet Illiterate to join them, and then there’s the famously spontaneous verbalisations of singer/guitarist/loopmeister Paul Bradley, appearing as support for a solo set from amazing Afro-English primitive guitarist C. Joynes (Chocolate Factory, Wednesday 2).

Trumpeter Andy Hague is highly reputed for his skills in composition and arrangement as much as his playing. It all comes together in the Andy Hague Quintet (Bebop Club, Friday 4), long recognised as one of the top jazz outfits for a long, long way. They’ve been busily touring around the country through the summer and this one’s a warm-up gig for the upcoming Teignmouth Jazz Festival.

Another sizzling trumpet talent comes to Canteen leading the Jonny Bruce Trio (Wednesday 2), while Jonny’s fellow Moscow Drug Clubber vocalist Katya Gorrie launches her own new Katya Gorrie Trio (El Rincon, Thursday 3) with guitarist Matt Hopkins alongside.

And finally … veteran avant-guitarist Mike Cooper provides a live re-scoring of silent Russian sci-fi film Aelita at The Cube (Thursday 3) with support from guitarist Phil Gibbs. One of the luminaries of contemporary English folk guitar in the 60s, Mike has always been a pioneer of experimentation with electronics and visuals. His semi-improvised cascades of processed acoustic guitar have been pushing at musical boundaries for over half a century.

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