Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol

After a Satori, Christian Garrick and the super Craig Handy we look forward to the end of the year with more gigs of quality, but again, all with a difference.

Soul Jazz vocalist and pianist Oli Rockberger's 5-piece band including folk violinist Hannah Read; contemporary jazz at its best with Malija; Folk/Americana at Zion Arts w/ Dana and Susan Robinson; the awesome piano of Robert Mitchell; and the straight ahead jazz of Dave O'Higgins and his quartet. December sees two gigs with Bristol's own Rock/Jazz stars 'Get The Blessing' and a fun Christmas special with Alan Barnes Octet project 'A Jazz Christmas Carol'.

Hope you can make it along to at least a few of these great gigs

Cheers, Ian

Nov 19 Dave O’Higgins 28 Dana and Susan Robinson
Dec 10 Get The Blessing 17 Alan Barnes

Dave O’Higgins Quartet

Sun 19 Nov 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book Δ

Dave O’Higgins

This gig with the Dave O’Higgins Quartet is part of a massive 33-date tour of the UK promoting the new CD, ‘It’s Always 9:30 in Zog’, from September through to December 2017 with the help of awards from the Arts Council of England and PRS Foundation.

Dave’s saxophone sound is highly personal and recognisable, with a clear sense of melodic development and adventure. He has a wide palette from Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Joe Henderson through to Stanley Turrentine and Michael Brecker.

The quartet is unashamed to swing….hard…very hard; drawing on blues and functional harmonies and the great tome of jazz vocabulary. The new music fizzes with life and panache, enhanced by this very able set of musicians whose backgrounds read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the Jazz and music elite; Graham Harvey (Gerard Presencer, Incognito, M People and currently Stacey Kent for the last 8 years); Geoff Gascoyne (Michel Legrand, Everything But the Girl, Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, Sir Willard White, Dianne Reeves, Guy Barker, Claire Martin, and he played a major part in the rise of Jamie Cullum with whom he worked exclusively from 2000 to 2007); Seb’ de Krom (Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, John Scofield, Dave Holland, Clark Terry, Guy Barker and currently with the Tommy Smith Quartet)

O’Higgins plays with quite exceptional fluency and his fund of ideas never runs out. ~ The Observer

I first came across Dave O’Higgins playing with new wave jazz group ‘Roadside Picnic’ and has since gone on to huge success starting with his musical apprenticeships served with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, Jim Mullen and Martin Taylor. Work followed with diverse artists such as Jamie Cullum, pop band Matt Bianco, Kyle Eastwood, the BBC Big Band, and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra. His most impressive names on the CV are surely Frank Sinatra (the last London appearance - a week at the Royal Albert Hall in 1992) and a tour and album with Ray Charles (Strong Love Affair).

Dave’s big tone sound leads this kicking band, which will surely swing the house down, be there..........read more

Dana and Susan Robinson

Tue 28 Nov 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Zion Community Space Book Δ

Dana and Susan Robinson

Dana and Susan Robinson are two guitar-playing, banjo-flailing, fiddle-sawing, and harmony-singing interpreters of the American experience. Their unique blend of contemporary songwriting and traditional Appalachian music bring to their performances a deep understanding of Americas musical heritage.

The genius of a Dana and Susan Robinson performance lies in their ability to capture the imagination of their audience, evoking a transformative experience that touches on the deepest humanity. They can make the audience howl with laughter or hush with poignant reflection as they take them on a journey across America and convey the mystery and wonder of the places they visit.

Many songwriters such as Bruce Springsteen, or John Mellencamp have been heralded as modern day Woody Guthrie’s or keepers of the American rural spirit, but that mantle might be better entrusted to musicians like Dana Robinson who embody both the heart and the soul of folk music. ~ Dirty Linen

From Asheville, North Carolina, Dana and Susan Robinson bring to the stage an exciting blend of original songs of the American landscape and old-time Appalachian mountain music. With Dana on guitar and fiddle, Susan's claw-hammer banjo playing and harmony singing they bring a joyful energy to their concerts. Their music is the sound and feel of bedrock America.......read more

Get The Blessing

Sun 10 Dec 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book Δ

Get The Blessing

…they may well be the most original and exciting band on the British scene at the moment. ~ Jazzwise Magazine

Bassist Jim Barr once remarked that Get The Blessing were “total outsiders” and “the punk entry” when they won the 2008 BBC Jazz Award for Best Album with ‘All Is Yes’. Almost six years later and four albums down the line, the same could still be said to hold true, albeit with a little more wisdom at their disposal.

…Seriously creative…Wonderfully irreverent ~ Mojo Magazine

Formed in 2000 to share a fascination with the improvisation and monophonic nature of Ornette Coleman’s earlier works and throughout this time, the line-up has remained the same throughout with Portishead rhythm masters Jim Barr and Clive Deamer on bass and drums respectively, Pete Judge on trumpet and Jake McMurchie on saxophone. All this despite other commitments for everyone, not least Deamer’s recruitment as Radiohead’s second live drummer in 2012. The band’s old friend, collaborator and Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley also makes the occasional guest appearance.

The momentum of creativity is undipped ~ BBC Music Magazine

The Bristol-based four-piece can now boast a truly international fan base. Since the release of ‘All Is Yes’ in February 2008, they’ve taken their musical vision round the world with successful tours and festival appearances in the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Dubai, Turkey, Macedonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Serbia...........read more

GTB harness rock and jazz with uncompromising power ~ Time Out

Alan Barnes’s ‘Christmas Carol’

Sun 17 Dec 7:30 for 8:15 (£15/13)Hen & Chicken Book Δ

Alan Barnes’s ‘Christmas Carol’

And now for something completely different.

Like the Dickens classic itself, Alan Barnes’s “Christmas Carol” has something for everyone. A family night out that is also a treat for the jazz connoisseur; it will delight anyone who loves music or literature – or just Christmas!

This suite of pieces, takes the audience through the characters and scenes of ‘A Christmas Carol'. Readings from the original Dickens tell the story, and after each scene eight virtuoso musicians bring the characters and scenes to life, switching audiences from hilarity to pathos with a skill that would have done credit to Dickens himself!

A gruff baritone sax plays Scrooge, his lost love Belle is a lyrical alto, his clerk Bob Cratchit a cheery clarinet and Marley’s Ghost walks in the person of a swinging trombone. Just as Scrooge’s ghosts take him on a tour of his life, so the movements of this suite seemed each to have a benevolent presiding ghost, celebrating the spirit of jazz greats past and present.

The music and readings inspire the full range of Dickens’s imagination and emotion: from terror and remorse through to love and then irresistible joy: "God Bless Us Every One!"

Barnes is a true Dickensian. He is a serious reader of the novels. It is a clear blunder of providence that he was born too late to appear in their pages! ~ Hot News

Sure it’s Christmas, sure to be Fun, and sure to get some fantastic Jazz from a truly stellar line-up….so don’t be a Humbug and start your Christmas early.........read more