Well it’s a long way from the Garden of England to the bayous of Louisiana but Kent-born pianist Jon Cleary made that journey in search of the roots of New Orleans piano jazz. After two decades in the Crescent City he’s as steeped as any native in the music of Dr John, Professor Longhair and many others and his Lantern performance (Friday 14) will be an early highlight of the Colston Hall’s River Town weekend.
For a more contemporary jazz experience, however, you’re better off heading to Canteen on Wednesday (12) for stylish guitarist Dan Messore or Thursday (13) for grooving improvising trio Modulus III. Dan’s loosely fluid style leans toward the Bill Frisell approach, with elements of Pat Metheny’s quick riffing changes and he’s capable of spellbinding performances, while the electronic interplay between Dan Moore and Drew Morgan, driven by Matt Brown’s drumming, makes each Modulus III outing a compelling experience.
There’s a world of great jazz in the space between old school New Orleans and hard core electronic proggery and a couple of choice examples crop up this week. Wednesday’s Fringe session (12) features Silverado, trumpeter Andy Hague’s tribute to the great pianist and composer Horace Silver, a pivotal figure in the 60s whose intricate tunes are beguilingly catchy. Andy’s sextet is an all-star affair, with Jim Blomfield taking the all-important piano stool and the band playing Andy’s own empathetic arrangements of the great man’s compositions. Vocalist Ruth Royall is equally at home in a classic jazz or R’n’B number as she is with her own soulful original songs. She’s bringing a collaboration with tenor sax tyro Craig Crofton to Future Inn (Thursday 13), supported by the longstanding rhythm partnership of Anders Olinder (keyboards) and Andy Tween (drums).
The influence of contemporary classical music is never far from the modern jazz world and pianist Dan Inzani’s Spindle Ensemble will be appearing at the lovely Old Barn venue in Kelston, near Bath (Saturday 15). He describes their music, which features vibes, cello, violin and harp, as ‘experimental acoustic’. Similarly adventurous accordionist Rich Hughes joins up with the all-brass quintet Presidents of Parp to explore ‘anything from tangos to Shostakovich’ (El Rincon, Friday 14).
The week’s wild card is, unsurprisingly, at the Cube (Friday 14) where Harry ‘Iceman’ Furniss curates a night including improvising bass clarinettist (and sometime Guillemot) Chris Cundy and the remarkable duo Adrena Adrena, a collaboration between Daisy Dickinson’s projected visuals and drummer/electronicist E-Da Kazuhisa. Daisy’s work is projected onto a large white sphere dangling over the stage while E-Da combines acoustic percussion with an electronica soundtrack.