Bristol jazz fans disappointed to not be heading to that certain field in Somerset this week can rest assured: there’s precious little jazz on offer down there (as usual). Happily there’s a fair amount going on in Bristol, jazz-wise, with a visit from our recently self-exiled saxophone superstar Andy Sheppard (Hen & Chicken, Sunday 25) certain to sell out. It’s the highly entertaining Pushy Doctors who’ll be playing, Andy’s witty and clever trio with drummer Tony Orrell and keyboard player Dan Moore, and early booking is essential.
London-born bass-player Janek Gwizdala made his name in the US after training at Berklee and his ‘hastily arranged world tour’ passes through Leftbank (Monday 19). His solo playing involves some fancy footwork on the loop pedals as well as midi-voicing his bass guitar.
Montpelier’s Old England pub has a couple of interesting gigs this week, with the electro-ambient Michelson Morley joining Harry ‘Iceman’ Furniss’ Quintet on Monday (19) and Liquid Library Records ambient/noise outfit TBC headlining a triple-bill of strangeness on Thursday (22). If either of those tickle your fancy then you might also want to consider experimentalists Tomaga (Crofters Rights, Friday 23) with This Heat drummer Charles Hayward’s new improv trio Data Quack in support.
Improvisation is very much the flavour of the week, it seems, with Monday’s Fringe session boasting a double bill of Grigg/Hill/Lash/Telford and the Unity Trio and the Greenbank (Thursday 22) offering Paul Dunmall’s Totally Fried Up Band (which also features drummer Roger Telford) and The Darjeeling Council (which also features Unity Trio saxman Mark Langford). That’s a lot of disorderly accomplishment for one week.
If you prefer things with more structure, however, the Iain Ballamy Quartet (Fringe, Wednesday 21) is a great line-up that also includes pianist Malcolm Edmonstone, drummer Mark Whitlam and Fringe favourite Percy Pursglove on trumpet and bass. Iain’s eclectic ear and vigorous playing style are one of the UK’s jazz treats. Tribute will be paid to a great US jazz guitar talent when Future Inn features The Music of Pat Metheny, a project conjured up by bass player Will Harris and guitarist Matt Hopkins. The band’s debut at Fringe earlier in the year was a fine evocation of some of the great man’s best-loved compositions.
Meanwhile an unexpected change in programme at The Alma Tavern on Sunday (25) sees the modestly-named Neutron Stars emerge, a quintet of well-respected Bristol jazz names (including Jim Blomfield on piano and Jonny Bruce on trumpet) with a set of jazz standards and a few less well-known number.
Finally what has to be the complete antidote to Pilton’s sprawling megagigs comes on Friday when the diminutive El Rincon features a Cuban Jazz Duet of trumpeter Michel Padron and pianist Raymundo playing the subtle and upbeat music of Ruben Gonzalez and others. Beat that, Radiohead.