Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol

Despite not being "Officially" twinned with New Orleans the guys from The Session blew into town for a couple of memorable days last month, with not a single 'Ambassador' in sight. Nevertheless they played a couple of great sets for a very satisfied audience on Sun 16th that went down well, even with an audience participation encore of Little Liza Jane! For a small insight into the last two years visits, how they came about, a review and a bit of fun, take a look at the blog page (see right) for a read.

The next two months sees four gigs with quality written all over them. We kick off with the Kevin Figes Octet (Sun 13th Sept) that has doubled vocals, horns and drums in an usual and interesting line-up. That's followed by a special gig with Barry Green (Sun 20th Sept) inviting two American collaborators over: Gerald Cleaver on drums and the awesome Chris Cheek (Saxes); a rare opportunity to see this guy in Bristol. October has Kit Downes new trio The Enemy featuring drum magician James Maddren and Marius Neset bassist Petter Eldh from Sweden. The following week has an incredible deal linked to an equally top band line up for Michael Janisch's Paradigm Shift (check out 'the deal' in the listing below)

Cheers, Ian

Kevin Figes Octet

Sun 13 Sep 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Hen & Chicken Book

Kevin Figes Octet

From Kevin Figes:
It has always been an ambition of mine to lead a medium sized group such as an Octet. Thinking of the line-up I was inspired firstly by Kenny Wheeler to use wordless vocals, and treat the vocals as horns to play with and in counterpoint to the two Saxes. The use of two drummers has also been an ambition, something exciting and a challenge to them both to work with each other. The music was written very much with the line up and individuals in mind, and drew not only upon jazz influences (Kenny Wheeler, David Binney) but also very much from the progressive jazz/rock scene of the seventies (Soft Machine, Ian Carr) and just plain progressive rock (Gentle Giant). This leads to some pieces having more distinct sections, use of electric bass and more keyboard sounds, and each piece representing a little musical journey. I also hope that all these factors add up to something quite unique.

This exciting new project, with double sax and vocals, features brand new compositions by Kevin Figes drawing heavily from the 1970s jazz scene. Influences include Miles Davis, Kenny Wheeler, Soft Machine, David Binney and the whole thing is probably best summed up as Jazz Prog Rock. A new CD is about to be released and pre release copies will be available on the night. .........read more

This is poised, distinctive music ~ Jazz UK

Barry Green Trio

Sun 20 Sep 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book

Barry Green Trio

This promises to be one of the gigs of the year with beautifully melodic and lyrical Barry Green’s piano sound leading two friends from across the pond; and what friends. Barry first met Gerald Cleaver while in New York some five years ago and they have talked a lot since about working together. Another similar acquaintance is the big sounding saxophonist Chris Cheek and after years of listening to their music with Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau, Craig Taborn and Bill Frisell, Barry recorded this unique bass-less trio in a freezing Systems Two studio, Brooklyn in 2014. Barry recorded two trio albums opting for one with Chris Cheek and Gerald Cleaver (called Great News) and the other with Drew Gress and Tom Rainey (called Almost There).

Great News was released on Moletone (Barry’s own label) in early 2015 and features original music as well as tributes to Mulgrew Miller and Cedar Walton, plus a few arrangements of more modern pop songs. The release is now followed by a UK and International tour with Chris and Gerald. This will be the trio’s second date of a 10-day international tour, which starts in Barcelona and ends at Scarborough jazz Festival.

This is an elastic, spontaneous, melodic trio reflects the wide range of influences based on the trio’s collective experience of music making. Barry brings his eclectic experiences of playing with world class musicians to create a unique style. Chris Cheek has worked with a simply stellar collection of musicians, from Paul Motian & Charlie Haden to Steve Swallow. Gerald Cleaver on drums currently works with US piano star Craig Taborn, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, and sax legend Charles Lloyd.........read more

Green’s piano provided some real interaction with the vocals, sometimes prodding, sometimes holding back, and often inserting deft little phrases that decorated the lyrics with taste and sensitivity. ~ Alyn Shipton, The Times

The Enemy (Kit Downs Trio)

Sun 4 Oct 7:30 for 8:15 (£13/11)Hen & Chicken Book

Barry Green Trio

This will be special: contemporary, fantastically energetic, edgy, lyrical, melodic, intriguing and exhilarating.

The Enemy are based in London and Berlin, they play for the appreciation of expression through complexity - light-speed rhythmic patterns and dense harmonic clusters collide in a unique and formidable combination of voices that has been described as both fiercely intense and beautifully intricate.

The members of the band have all received their own critical acclaim (including a Mercury Music Award Nomination and BBC Jazz Award) as well as having toured the world with some of the finest musicians (Django Bates, Marc Copeland, Thomas Strønen, Marius Neset), but here they shine collectively, as like-minded experimentalists and improvisers. .........read more

Rip-roaring groove, mind-boggling polyrhythmic drumming, snapping physicality and sweeping piano runs from brittle street grooves ~ John Fordham, The Guardian

Michael Janisch's Paradigm Shift

Sun 11 Oct 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book


Included with admission a free 15 Track Whirlwind Recordings Sampler album and a free download card of his two previous albums Purpose Built and Banned in London.

Michael Janisch's Paradigm Shift

This September Michael Janisch releases his second solo recording Paradigm Shift and debuts his new sextet of the same name. Paradigm Shift is a double disc album featuring new original material (including disc one that is solely comprised of the 'Paradigm Shift Suite') composed by the leader with some choice originals by his bandmates. The music was initially recorded live by his acoustic quintet after a two-week European tour and was subsequently taken into the studio for post production augmentation by Janisch and electronics wizard Alex Bonney. Janisch's new band Paradigm Shift will include Bonney on the live shows thus pairing the acoustic quintet with real-time electronic manipulation, presenting an engaging sonic program of music that mixes contemporary jazz, electronica, funk, rock, punk and free improv alongside anthemic themes, otherworldly sounds and infectious grooves.

The rest of the band features some of the most sought after, versatile and experienced musicians of their generation; soprano saxophonist Jason Yarde (Sam Rivers, Hermeto Pascoal, Jazz Warriors), tenor saxophonist Paul Booth (Steve Winwood, Steely Dan, Eric Clapton), Grammy-award winning pianist Cédric Hanriot (Dianna Reeves, John Pattituci) and New York City based drumming phenom Colin Stranahan (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Herbie Hancock).

This promises to be a special night and the deal Michael is offering is unbelievable. Not only is the admission price warranted for this line up of top line pro’s alone; but with addition of a free 15 Track Whirlwind Recordings Sampler album (feat: Partikel, Alex Garnett, The Partisans, Jeff Williams and The Cloudmakers Trio + more: See website for full sampler line-up) you will ALSO get a download card of his two previous albums Purpose Built and Banned in London. That's 3 albums of music for the price of admission. I cannot remember an artist offering such a deal before, especially of this quality. It goes to the core of his stand against the corporate stance of major record labels and the like.........read more

Janisch leads his band on a rip-roaring ride, doling out heavy grooves, tasty walking lines and melody by the bucketful ~ Bass Guitar Magazine