Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol

Last month we again had some vey high quality music, though audiences didn't reflect the calibre of musicians on show. With four gigs this month, all of exceptional quality (and one with a bit of fun), here's hoping you can make it along to some.

We kick of with The Sirkis/ Bialis International Quartet with super drummer Asaf Sirkis and Sylwia Bialis using her oustanding voice to good effect. Possibly the gig of the year follows on Fri 13 May with a visit by New York guitar supremo Jonathan Kreisberg. Not only is his quartet a stellar outfit in the Big Apple but he's bringing with him a stunning pianist in David Kikoski. I saw Kikoski with Bob Berg at Ronnie Scott's about 12 years ago and he blew me away, this is a rare treat to see and hear this guy in Bristol. We are presenting this gig in association with the Be Bop Club as they have kindly decided to close for this night, I have also partnered up with Bath Ales who will sponsor the evening, keeping ticket prices to our normal cost and we also hope to have a Grand Piano in for the gig. If you ever wanted to show your support for what I try to do with Jazz in Bristol.....this is THE gig to turn out for and help me make this a special night of music! *EBA*

Karen Tweed celebrates 27 years in music with a Birthday, Concert, Party on Fri 27 with entry FREE. She is bringing along some friends to help swell the sound and we hope you will come along, have some fun and donate to the charities at the end. We round off the month with a brilliant collaboration between Partikel Trio and violinist Benet McLean, reproducing the music from the String Theory Project. These guys are flavour of the year and I'm pleased to have them in the programme.

Cheers, Ian

*EBA* means Early Booking Advised

Sirkis/Bialas Int Quartet

Sun 8 May 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book

Asaf Sirkis+Sylwia Bialas

The Sirkis/Bialas International Quartet is a fresh new collaboration between Israeli UK-resident drummer/composer Asaf Sirkis (known for his work with the Lighthouse trio, Gilad Atzmon, Tim Garland, Larry Corryel, John Abercrombie and the Asaf Sirkis trio), and Polish vocalist/ composer extraordinaire Sylwia Bialas (now German-resident).

With an emphasis on band interaction and sheer joy of playing, this band celebrates music from both collaborators, covering a wide range of influences such as contemporary classical music, Polish folk, South Indian and Middle Eastern musics as well as a wide range of dynamics – from the most delicate ballad all the way to high-energy electric virtuoso lines and everything in between. Expect soulful melodies, aerospheric sounds with strong grooves, a full colour electro-acoustic jazz with an ethnic touch and some uncommonly used instruments and sound effects. The quartet has recently been touring the UK and recording their new album Dreams Dreams.

The Sirkis/Bialas International Quartet demonstrates how well a vocalist can work as the featured soloist in a quartet. Even better, they make you forget the instrumentation in the beauty and joy of the music they make. Collectively could come from anywhere and everywhere. Co-leaders Sirkis and Bialas composed all of the music (each is responsible for half of the tunes), with Bialas taking credit for all of the lyrics. Since the lyrics are in Polish, for many listeners there won't be much difference between the songs with lyrics and the vocalese, but the lyrics do seem to have an effect on the melodies, and Bialas' more

*EBA* Jonathan Kreisberg Quartet feat: David Kikoski

Fri 13 May 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book

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This gig is sponsored by Bath Ales
and is presented in association with The Be-Bop Club

Jonathan Kreisberg David Kikoski

Landmark gig for Bristol with a visit by stellar New York based guitarist Kreisberg, who brings with him one of THE top US pianists David Kikoski (Roy Haynes, Bob Berg, and Michael Brecker). Kikoski is a brilliant talent. Possessing awesome speed with unbelievable accuracy, a mind that has seemingly limitless ideas covering the piano spectrum, using rhythms, harmonies and melodic changes that cause an awful lot of jaw dropping!

Jonathan himself is regarded as one of the best Jazz guitarists in New York currently and when he’s not acting as sideman to top Hammond exponent Dr. Lonnie Smith, he’s playing with some of the brightest musicians in America such as Bill Stewart, Geoff Keezer, Larry Grenadier, Scott Wendholt and Englishman abroad Will Vinson as well as providing textured guitar sounds for Lee Konitz, Joe Locke, Ari Hoenig, Joel Frahm, Don Friedman, Donald Edwards and Jane more

If you ever wanted to support the music and what I try to do, this is the gig. Come and help me put on this outstanding gig. I am very aware that this gig is also not on our normal evening of Sunday, switching to Friday, to be able to take this gig as part of only a few gigs in London, here in Bristol, France and Barcelona. I would normally not clash with the music that The Be-Bop Club does on their regular Friday slot, but this gig is too good to miss! So I’ve arranged with Andy Hague to co-present tonight’s gig with The Be-Bop Club. They are suspending their normal night, to join with me to put on the gig.

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Bath Ales are sponsoring this event, enabling us to keep ticket prices at our normal level. We are also hoping to ship in a baby grand piano for the evening.

Karen Tweed (& Friends)

Fri 27 May 7:30 for 8:15 (£donations)Hen & Chicken Book

Karen Tweed

Karen Tweed, the mercurial and lyrical accordionist extraordinaire, is celebrating her birthday on Friday 27th May 2016, which coincides with her 27th year of professional and diverse musicality! To celebrate, there will be a concert-birthday-party, in Bristol, which promises to be fun, frivolous and decorative!

Initially this is a free event, but we ask you to donate something at the end of the evening. Apart from some musician and venue expenses the majority of donations will support Alzheimer’s UK and The Samaritans, charities selected by the musicians performing and having fun, to celebrate Karen’s 27 years. Her career has seen a myriad of breathtaking collaborations such as The Poozies, SWAP, The Kathryn Tickell Band, The No 1 Ladies Accordion Orchestra, Circa Compania and May Monday. She is also a respected illustrator and designer which is now revealed in the first publication of her compositions – some of which she will be playing and re-telling the stories about them. Karen may even shed a little light on her other love, cartoons.

She has performed on over 60 albums, featured in 5 publications including The Severn Suite – a collection of new dances and music with John Kirkpatrick which celebrates its 10th anniversary in Wales in October.

Tweed’s sensibilities straddle classical and traditional modes with the agility of Margot Fonteyn and the fluency of someone bi-lingual since birth. This is a music tethered to neither a time nor a location. ~ Siobhan Long, the Irish Times

She is an inspirational teacher, composer and arranger whose mission is to keep inspiring live music in universities, village halls, pubs, street corners and seafronts! A rough outline of the evening will see two sets with Karen performing solo, then her friends and guests joining in. Later and after, it may develop into an Irish music pub jam!!! So, bring your party hats and come along to Karen Tweed 27 and have some more

…and none of this lovely music falls short of expectations. I honestly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed folk-music as much. ~ Paul Pledger,

Partikel +Benet McLean

Sun 29 May 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book


Partikel take a unique and fresh look at the saxophone trio format, their exciting live performances led them to being dubbed as One of the hottest young bands on the UK scene according to Jazzwise magazine.

After years of extensive touring throughout the UK, Europe and China, Partikel have established themselves as one of the best and most consistent of contemporary British jazz groups ~ Ian Mann.

Partikel began 2015 touring throughout the UK teaming up with one of Europe's most virtuosic jazz violinists, Benet McLean, performing music from their critically acclaimed album String Theory. 2016 has many exciting things in store for the band including a headline performance at London's iconic Ronnie Scott's. Many other high profile bookings for this year include Love Supreme Festival and Pizza Express Jazz Club as part of the London Jazz Festival. Partikel will also be joining forces with Benet McLean on their next album due for release in 2017 where they will be exploring the world of electronics.

Partikel released their third album String Theory in 2015. This latest project sees the band pushing their own sonic and compositional boundaries by teaming up with four of the most in-demand string players on the UK scene, fusing their love of jazz, rock and world music with the sounds and textures of a string quartet to create a high energy album that merges a bewildering array of unique soundscapes. The string quartet has been integrated seamlessly into Partikel's trademark style of raw emotion and fiercely interactive improvisations, striking an intriguing balance between intensity and rich harmony. It's an excellent example of a band not content with resting on their laurels. The approach to this album has been very different to the last two albums where the band went through periods of non-stop rehearsing and fine-tuning on arrangements before going into the studio.

The album was released on Whirlwind Recordings in the spring to critical acclaim and lead to a number of high profile appearances throughout the UK including the London String Quartet Festival and the EFG London Jazz Festival. The year culminated in seeing the band rise to new heights with performances from Shanghai to Seville. Last October Partikel embarked on a month long tour of China performing in nine cities across the country. The band were able to perform at various concert halls, arts centres, festivals and intimate clubs as well as delivering workshops at some of the countries leading educational institutions. On returning to the UK in November it was straight into the London Jazz Festival and then off for three performances in Seville as part of the Festival en la Provincia.

The band has also been running a successful residency night at one of London's premier jazz venues The Hideaway in Streatham. As bassist Max Luthert rightly states we have been hanging out and playing together so much over the past 6 years this is really starting to develop a strong and cohesive band sound. Rarely do jazz groups get the opportunity to work together and develop their art as much as Partikel have, resulting in a fresh, melodic and fiercely interactive set of passionate and sincere more

One of the most exciting trios in improvised music ~ Jazz Podium (Germany)