Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol

Only one gig in September but it was a very good performance from Kristian Borring despite a small audience. The quality of composition, musicianship and sound was very high and extremely entertaining.

One Jazz and two Folk/Americana in October with ARQ ~ Alison Rayner's Quintet kicking us off on Sun 9th with her band who were top class on their last visit, with their mix of groove-based originals. This time Ali has added a new album of music to the repertoire with the same line-up including Dierdre Cartwright's amazing guitar sound and all things Keys provided by Steve Lodder, Andy Sheppard's old sidekick.

An interesting mix of folk with Jazz guitarist John Parricelli promises to be very entertaining on Thurs 14th. Top pick in getting Eric Taylor, the legendary US singer songwriter to the greats, in our midst on Friday 21st. He is a the real deal, with artists such as Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle and Nanci Griffth singing his praises as a leader and mentor. Hope you can make it along to some of these gigs this month.

Cheers, Ian

ARQ Alison Rayner Quintet

Sun 9 Oct 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book


Following the success of their acclaimed debut album August in 2014 and the subsequent national tour, of which we were a part, ARQ has spent two years building a substantial and wide ranging audience for their deliciously upbeat, groovy and thoughtful jazz (Jazz UK).

The new album A Magic Life was recorded in London this summer, will be released in November 2016 and is bursting with melodic and harmonic references from classical, roots and folk music. Rayner cites both Charlie Haden and Eberhard Weber as influences – but there is always a strong sense of Rayner’s musical personality evident in the poignant folk melodies, rootsy grooves and improvisational invention. I was inspired to call the album A Magic Life because of two recent incidents. The loss of a friend last year, who wrote in her own epitaph about how magic her life had been; then a chance encounter with a young boy, who asked me "Is music stronger than magic?" I replied that to me, music is a merging of magic and logic. These events set me on a course of thinking about connections between memory, mortality, magic – and music.

A master-class in empathetic playing with superb solos and a rhythm section of the highest calibre; don’t miss these virtuoso musicians when they come to town. ~ Phil Webb, Restormel Arts, Cornwall

In a Jazz age with an abundance of technical excellence – and ARQ have it in great quantity – we look for something else as well. ARQ bring to the stage a musical bond that is expressed in such fun and joyful moments that it is a pleasure to be in the room with them; Jazz of the highest quality. ~ Phil Rose, Birmingham Jazz

In ARQ, Alison Rayner has gathered a group of fine musicians who sympathetically support her music: The group’s imaginative and assured playing are superbly suited to Rayner’s compositions and reflect a confidence inspired by working intensively together, touring her first more

Blow the Fuse presents ARQ - A Magic Life, the production of which has been supported by the Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts scheme.

Jimbo & Griff meet John Parricelli

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

Jimbo & Griff John Parricelli

In June John Parricelli played here in Bristol with our own Andy Sheppard in a duo Jazz gig that was pure musicality. The sounds they produced that night were described by one audience member as sublime, and she was not wrong.

John is classed as a jazz musician but has transcended that tag with work encompassing TV (Nature, the Natural World, Luther, Indian Summers and even ‘Strictly’) and live theatre, to composing everything from jingles to full film scores (Skyfall, Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, Legend, The Hobbit, Gosford Park etc; equalling 80+ credits) and then there’s massive ‘session work’ and live stage performances in all genres from rock, blues, pop, world, classical and jazz, from venues like restaurants, cruise ships and clubs to most major concert rooms around the world inc; The Royal Albert Hall and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

So what is one the world's best guitarists doing in Bristol again with a pair of gnarly old Folkie’s? Doing what he does so much better than most, playing music professionally. Because John is a true professional musician in the best sense of the word.....and he has previous with Jim Reynolds!

Roll back the years to circa 1976 and a mutual friend (Mark) brought John, to meet Jim at his flat in Long Ashton. John was about 17 and came to learn some chords from Shirehampton born Jim. Jim maintains, tongue in cheek, he “taught him all he knows!” However as Jim points out, John was keen and extremely dedicated to learning his instrument, getting up at 6am everyday to practice for two hours before his day job (pre-music). Jim heard him a few years later and was blown away with the ability and feel John had achieved on the guitar....musicianship.

The same friend was also to suggest adding John to one of Jim’s album’s There I Am in 2006. He didn’t think John would be interested but John loved the songs Jim had written and when the studio mix was sent to him in London, John made suggestions he could add, and over dubbed his parts. Jim was delighted with the outcome. Last autumn the pair met while on a mutual friends walk, near Cheltenham one Sunday morning. Jim asked if John was playing in Bristol anytime soon and at that time had nothing in his diary. After twenty minutes of Jim’s brain wheels turning, he suggested they do something at the Hen & Chicken where Jim and Griff had recently launched their latest album....and that was that.

Tonight will feature mostly Jim’s music, especially those from the 2006 recording, plus some newer penned Reynolds songs and a couple the pair have worked on together. Add in the masterful Mandolin and Bass of Dave Griffiths and we have the recipe for a slap up supper! Come and join us for some music more

Eric Taylor (USA) support by Stuart Warburton (UK)

Fri 21 Oct 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Hen & Chicken Book

Eric Taylor

USA 2016: The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Eric Taylor has been nominated for an Emmy for Music Composition for songs written for the Storyworks.TV documentary Road Kid to Writer: The Tracks of Jim Tully

Eric Taylor is a sage musician, a lyrical genius and a master of the guitar. If you're familiar with the intricate Texas singer/ songwriter jigsaw puzzle, you probably already know a lot about Taylor. If you're not familiar with Taylor by name, you've probably heard his songs performed by people such as Nanci Griffith, Steve Earle and Lyle Lovett. He has created a multitude of fans and devotees that are legends themselves in the singer/songwriter realm, artists who have long considered Taylor to be a teacher and a lantern bearer, whose time is long overdue.

Taylor may sing of the past, of bar rooms and hay fields and even Johnny Cash, but his characters want the same things we do. They want love and redemption. They want some fun and happiness. They want respect and sometimes even a little vengeance. Taylor's people are just like us, it's just that their tales are exquisitely told. ~ Al Kaufman, Atlanta Music Guide

Taylor learned intricate blues guitar stylings from music legends Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb and Mississippi Fred McDowell while working at the Family Hand club. Later, he developed his own unique guitar picking style that would be imitated by many of his contemporaries from the early Houston days, such as Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle and Nanci Griffith. "There were no lines drawn in the sand between musical genres in Houston back in those days," Taylor remembers. "You were just a musician. I believe so many great writers came out of that scene because you could learn from others. Isn't that the point of this whole thing?"

A self confessed Socialist, left winger and proud of it, Taylor tours extensively throughout North America and Europe. He has appeared on Austin City Limits, Late Night with David Letterman, NPR's "Morning Edition" and "Mountain Stage" and BBC Radio. A mesmerizing performer whose shows will leave you wanting more and his tributes from others don’t come much better than these:

He’s the real deal. He was one of my heroes and teachers when I was starting playing around Houston in the early 70’s ~ Steve Earle

I'm always the opening act when I'm around Eric. I love his voice, and he has a great narrative quality and sense of detail. He sort of takes you out of your own reality and into the reality of his songs. Its good writing no matter how you cut it. ~ Lyle Lovett

If you miss an opportunity to hear Eric Taylor in concert, you have missed a chance to hear a voice I consider the William Faulkner of songwriting in our current time, and you will miss the rare opportunity to watch the hands of one of America's most unusual guitarists, with lyrics that will nail your hear to your ear and mind. For me to say that Eric Taylor is one of the finest writers of our time is an understatement. ~ Nanci Griffith

A very gifted songwriter. It was a high point for me performing “Strong Enough For Two” with Eric at the Newport Folk Festival. Hope to work more with him. ~ Joan Baez..... read more