Some interesting stuff this week, with the increasingly bearded Neil Cowley Trio (Lantern, Friday 17) being the most celebrated visitors. Last year’s Spacebound Apes concept CD (with graphic novel accompaniment) marked a new economy of sound, departing from the pianist’s well-established ‘loud, louder, stop!’ philosophy. Dammit – there were even moody ballads!
It’s unfortunate that Neil’s up against another great piano player, albeit a contrasting stylist, with John Law’s Congregation playing at the Bebop Club, a new quartet including the Roller Trio’s James Mainwaring on sax with dazzling bass player (and improviser) Ashley John Long and hot prodigy drummer Billy Weir. Those who know his playing will expect finely judged improvisation from this free-thinking master of the keyboards. Similarly fine ivory tinkling can be anticipated on Thursday (16) when Jim Blomfield joins saxophonist Kevin Figes for a duo performance at Old Market Assembly.
There’s some energetic business afoot at the Exchange this week, with promoter Fat Paul excelling himself with triple bills on Wednesday (15) and Saturday (18). Bass player and producer Jim Barr is the main man on Wednesday, featuring in both Get The Blessing (above) and ambient Indie improvisers Thought Forms, with moody electronicist Burl keeping things calm. Saturday’s entertainment is headlined by ‘strenuous instrumental workout’ merchants Hexit with global space ambience from Spoctet and ’Szabo Lynch Grunge’ from Silenzio. It will, no doubt, be strange and interesting.
You can stick to the more conventional pleasures of Latin music, however, if you check out Descarga at Canteen (Wednesday 15), a hot jam session led by Joe Longridge’s trumpet, and follow that up with Andy Hague’s Conjunto Gringo at Old Market Assembly on Saturday 18. Things will be even more worldly at Canteen on Thursday (16) when ex-Bellowhead trombonist Justin Thurgur (above) brings his new Afrobeat-inspired jazz dance music to Bristol for the first time.