Music / Bebop

The week in Jazz May 8 – 14

By tony benjamin, Monday May 8, 2017

The great Andy Sheppard may have, sadly, relocated to sunnier climes but the city’s jazz world continues to benefit from his legacy. One aspect of this is an ongoing relationship with multi-instrumentalist Percy Pursglove (above), while another was the bringing together of eclectic keyboard player Dan Moore and wilfully creative drummer Tony Orrell in Andy’s Pushy Doctors trio. With his departure it seemed almost inevitable that the three came together as Perdato (see what they did there?) and, while that trio is a fine thing in itself, their collaboration with powerful US sax player John O’Gallagher rocked the Fringe back in February to such an extent that they’re bringing him back this week (Wednesday 10) for what promises to be another crammed night.

Andy Button getting fretful

There’s a decidedly African flavour to guitarist Andy Button’s quartet  The Button Band (Future Inn, Thursday 11) with South African township swing numbers giving Afrobeat sax player Andy Woolf a chance to let rip. There’s folk and country influences there too, though, and Button’s guitar is always judiciously employed. African, Asian and Middle Eastern references abound when the Bristol European Jazz Ensemble play Colston Hall foyer on Friday (12), too. More straight-ahead modern jazz fun is to be had at the Bebop later that evening with full-throttle trumpeter Damon Brown, recently returned from great success in South Korea.

Another great re-surfacing on Friday night is an all-too rare appearance by Smerins Anti-Social Club (above) who launch their long-awaited second album Jelly Deals at Trinity. The 8-piece band have been one of the best instrumental dance music outfits in the country for over a decade, embellishing hard funk and ska riffs with just the right amount of show-offery. But they might be up for a challenge from newer kids on the block with the Mike Deniran Project, a 14-piece jazz-funk big band led by Macaco Project keyboard player Mike (Canteen, Wednesday 10). The band, complete with string section, represents the newest generation of Bristol’s jazz faces and rocked the Attic Bar with their February debut.

Pic: Ruben van Vliet Fotografie –

And, just to round off the week’s big-scale brass erupting programme, Hy Brasil have brought the ebullient Broken Brass Ensemble (above) over from Holland for Saturday night fun (13). This 8-piece combines hip-hop, funk and Ethiopiques style tunes with the classic New Orleans marching band style and plenty of crowd-pleasing showmanship. If that sounds a bit too hectic, though, you might prefer Flamenco-jazz threesome Manos Puestas Trio who appear at Bocabar on Saturday and again at the Tobacco Factory on Sunday.   Fronted by two flailing acoustic guitars they take that Spanish style to a mix of Cuban, Latin and Gypsy swing tunes, with the odd bebop number also given the treatment.

And, finally … this week’s one-of-a-kind ‘but is it jazz?’ speciality is hip-hop violinist Mike Dennis (Grain Barge, Thursday 11). Mike’s sheer creativity is boggling – he builds beats and backing tracks from loops using violin, cajon and vocals and then overlays them with his own rhymes. He’s already caught the ears of BBC Introducing and 6Music’s Tom Robinson and seems destined to go far.

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