Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol

Two nice gigs in May saw returns for both Perico Sambeat at Zion CAS and Kristina Olsen at the Hen & Chicken in two equally delightful evenings. Hearing Perico again in an intimate, yet open setting was fantastic; his alto sax tone was more beautiful than ever. Kristina was on good form with much humour allied to smart songs and eclectic instrumental performances on guitars, piano and button accordion.

In June (14th) we have an upbeat Latin night with Huw Warren (June Tabor, The Perfect Houseplants) and his Trio Brasil; playing music from composers such as Gilberto Joabim, Hermeto Pascoal and Egberto Gismonti. July promises something completely different with the NEW Jazz/Rock Oratorio from Mike Westbrook OBE and his Uncommon Orchestra numbering 22-pieces. “A Bigger Show” is set to a fairground background, investigating the human experience of living in a world now full of the World Wide Web; all done with humour and pathos thanks to Kate Westbrook’s lyrics.

Cheers, Ian

Trio Brasil

Sun 14 Jun 7:30 for 8:15 (£13/11)Hen & Chicken Book

Huw Warren

Trio Brasil are all about re-interpreting familiar and less familiar Brazilian classics by Hermeto Pascoal, Tom Jobin, Joyce, Guinga, Egberto Gismonti, Pixinguinha and more. The rhythmic styles within Brazilian music include; Samba, Baião, Forró, Frevo, Maracatu, Choro, all are celebrated with an infectious groove-heavy approach in Trio Brasil’s music. Following in the footsteps of his critically acclaimed Hermeto+ recording of 2009 (Basho records), Huw Warren leads this effective trio featuring long time associate Dudley Phillips and his son Zoot.

The cascading, long-lined tune of ‘Harmonia sem Chronologia’, the glowing romanticism of ‘Desencontro Certo’ and the glittering dance of ‘Jegue’ are irresistible ~ John Fordham, Guardian

A European stylist of the highest order ~ BBC Music Magazine

Welsh pianist and composer Huw Warren has achieved an international reputation for innovative and eclectic music making over a twenty year career. Equally at home crossing the often exclusive worlds of Jazz, World and Contemporary music, he has a distinctive and personal piano voice. His compositions move between quirky rhythmic grooves and a simple yet profound melodic beauty; but even at his most experimental his music is always fun and approachable. A uniquely soft toned and understated approach to song accompaniment has led him to perform and record with some of the worlds greatest singers. Currently artist in residence at Brecon Jazz and part of the Jazz department at RWCMD, Cardiff; Huw’s latest recording (Quercus with June Tabor and Iain Ballamy) was released in March 2013 on ECM.........read more

Mike Westbrook & Company: The Uncommon Orchestra

Sun 5 Jul 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book

New venue and times - see Gig Page for details

Mike Westbrook & Company

An exhilarating contemporary spin on the big band tradition ~ The Guardian

Composer/bandleader Mike Westbrook returns to Bristol with his new 22-piece band and a brand new jazz entertainment. This promises to be a momentous occasion and we hope to find an appropriate venue in which to set the piece. However if we can’t find that special place, we will present this from the Hen & Chicken, with a more theatrical setting.

A Bigger Show has been described as a Jazz/Rock Oratorio. Kate Westbrook’s scenario uses the image of the fairground to examine, with irony, humour and high drama, the lot of Humankind in the age of the World-Wide-Web. The ensemble involves 3 vocalists/actors, acoustic brass and saxophones, electronics and a double rhythm section. Kate is joined by fellow vocalists Martine Waltier and Billy Bottle, while Mike Westbrook & Company brings established Jazz musicians together with lesser known artists, Pop and Rock musicians, Classical players and talented young musicians in a new kind of big band – the Uncommon Orchestra.

Featured soloists include saxophonists Roz Harding, Lou Gare, and Alan Wakeman, Dave Holdsworth on sousaphone and pocket trumpet, plus the dynamic rhythm team of Marcus Vergette on bass, and Coach York on drums........read more

Britain’s most innovative Big Band leader ~ The Wire

Otis Gibbs (USA)

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

Otis Gibbs

Otis Gibbs is a man in search of an honest experience. He’s often referred to as a folk artist, but that is a simplistic way to describe a man who has planted over 7,000 trees, slept in hobo jungles, walked with nomadic shepherds in Romania, was a fifth grade yo-yo champion and once wrestled a bear (and lost). He’s been strip-searched by dirty cops in Detroit, and has an FBI file. Otis has played everywhere from labour rallies in Wisconsin, to anti-war protests in Texas, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Otis has played countless, theatres, festivals, bars and house concerts and has managed to carve out a living, while remaining happily independent. Much of his work concentrates on the world ignored by pop culture. Sometimes forgotten, obsolete, or simply marginalized, it is a world that doesn’t fit into a twenty-second sound bite.

He counts Billy Bragg as a friend and they have performed at festivals in the UK on many occasions. Otis possesses a gruff, gravelly voice that’s a mix of 40-a-day and bourbon by the bucket load...except he doesn’t drink! His tales of travel and on the road are both enlightening and highly amusing; he’s met some real characters on his travels and writes many songs about them and his life to date. This will Otis’s third visit to Bristol and he has always given us a great show and gathered a good following, this will be no exception........read more

With a low tolerance for bullshit and a guiding principle of maintaining his artistic integrity no matter what, Gibbs’ songwriting is deeply personal and profound. It’s plain to see Otis Gibbs is a man you should give a damn about. ~ Rolling Stone