The first three gigs this year have been very well attended with average audiences increased from last year. With especially two great gigs: Andy Sheppard and the outstanding evening with Kit Downes Quintet, which recieved a remarkable number of comments in praise from those attending, and rightly so. With bookings already above average for Jarrod Dickenson (Feb 25) the music and atmosphere at The Hen & Chciken is beginning to really come together and the musicians reaction to the room, audience and the general feel is very positive....even the piano has now settled down and received high praise from Kit! Hope you can get to gig in the near future and sample it for yourselves.

Cheers, Ian

JT4 - The Jean Toussaint Quartet

Sun 6 Apr 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book

Jean Toussaint

... Toussaint displays a beautiful incisive tone that you can only compare to liquid crystal... ~ Time Out

Jean Toussaint was born in the Caribbean on St. Thomas . Upon leaving high school he moved to the mainland of the USA, when he was accepted to America’s most prestigious school for Jazz, The Berklee College of Music. That period would see his year class produce future World class musicians such as: Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby, Kevin Eubanks, Jeff Watts, Victor Bailey, Donald Harrison and many others. It was during this time he was recommended to Art Blakey, legendary band leader and drummer who had formed the massively influential Jazz Messengers, the Hard-Bop band that would act as the seedbed for many of the top jazz stars of today. Jean was duly asked to join the group. The experiences gained in that world-class hothouse have enabled him to push forward and embrace challenging, and often high profile, musical collaborations in many different jazz styles. Today he is based in the UK in London and has become highly regarded as a composer, tenor/soprano saxophonist, bandleader and master jazz educator.

This latest JT4 quartet formed loosely on those Blakey principles of nurturing talent, includes some of Jean’s pupils who have met the standard and gone on to their own outstanding careers: Pianist Andrew McCormack (now resident in Brooklyn, NY) has returned to co-compose, record, launch and tour a new Toussaint album entitled Tate Song. With Larry Bartley on double bass and the awesome Troy Miller (produced and recorded the album) on drums, the combination becomes a dreamteam. The tour features 14 dates in the UK through March and April, with the album launch at Ronnie Scott’s in London on March 18th. We are lucky enough to be part of that tour and by our date, last in the tour after the Gateshead Jazz Festival, the band will be totally cooking! ........ read more

[Toussaint has] found a language that gracefully spans the gap between straight jazz and funk - it makes for some of his best playing. ~ The Guardian

...brilliance, wit ,verve and memorable, elegant sax lines... ~ The New York Times

The 3 Boxes

Thu 24 Apr 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Hen & Chicken Book

The 3 Boxes

3Boxes ~ Recipe with ingredients:

Take some Pink Floyd, a heavy smattering of Hank Marvin & the Shadows; add the Folk of Richard Thompson, a bit of Nanci Griffith’s Country, Classical SKY and sprinkle with some Southern Comfort: Season with The Blues and a frisson of Pop & Soul. Place in a very hot oven for over thirty years and you have the 3Boxes.

The 3Boxes are Clive Gregson, Mark Griffiths and Andy Roberts, a trio of well known musicians and old friends who have all featured in Hugh Gregory’s 1,000 Great Guitarists book, they have taken their experience of playing together in various bands, added their combined unique styles on acoustic guitars (aka ‘boxes’) and the result is much more than the sum of its parts. Their LIVE performance of acoustic instrumental music is of the finest calibre.

Ironically, the 3Boxes defy any attempt to put them into one! Since all their self-penned instrumental material encompasses a vast range of musicality - folk, blues, swing, ballads and beyond. Their dexterity and interplay creates a raft of rhythm and melody on which to sail far beyond any barriers. ........ read more

Melissa Greener (USA)

Thu 1 May 7:30 for 8:15 (£10/8)Hen & Chicken Book

Melissa Greener

Nashville based folk-crooner Melissa Greener tells the truth. Her songs captivate with refreshing, quirkily crafted lyrics, dynamic melodies and loads of groove. All of this is supported by vocal chops that simultaneously devastate and command.

Growing up in Detroit with an intoxicating potion of Mo-town, standard torch ballads, “oldies” and classic rock, Greener’s singular sound evolved. The unique brew emerged as the fermentation of a classically trained soprano mother, who sang in the lounge of the Playboy Club, and a politically bent hippie father. Years living in Austin, Texas made their mark on Greener’s sound and style, but her lyrical influences go back to the books of poetry that she stole from the junior high school library - Dylan Thomas, Robert Service, Dickenson and Yeats.

Transistor Corazon, Greener’s third studio release, explores complexities of the heart - her sound is a fusion of modernist poetry, romantic literature, and a soulful 1960’s Laurel Canyon. Greener’s sophomore release, Dwelling (Anima, 2010), was produced by John Jennings (Mary Chapin Carpenter) and has won awards and glowing reviews throughout the music industry

Ever after the next adventure, Greener has trekked mountain ranges in the Alps, Slovakia and Tibet. She’s pedalled a bicycle solo across Canada and lived in a rural village in China. Her current adventure is a full time schedule of international touring, performing in clubs, theatres, festivals and house concerts. One of those is with us in Bristol, well worth a listen from this uniquely styled live performer. ........ read more

..a glorious, utterly distinctive voice. An accomplished guitarist and an arresting songwriter... ~ Acoustic Guitar Magazine (USA)

Frank Harrison Trio

Sun 11 May 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Hen & Chicken

Frank Harrison

Frank Harrison took up the piano at 11, and began playing gigs when he was 15. After taking up a scholarship at Berklee School Of Music, Boston, he returned to the UK and joined Gilad Atzmon’s band. In 2000 they started the Orient House Ensemble, with whom Frank has recorded seven albums.

Frank has also performed with Peter King, Julian Arguelles, Julian Siegel, Don Weller, Alan Barnes, John Etheridge, Louis Stewart and Iain Ballamy. His debut album, First Light, was launched to critical acclaim and they have since toured regularly in Europe and the Far East, as well as collaborating with special guests such as Louis Stewart and Tina May. Frank's new trio features Davide Petrocca on bass and Stephen Keogh on drums.

Frank Harrison is one of the most talented young musicians I have heard. ~ Ronnie Scott

His talent shines among his peers. ~ Julian Joseph