Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol

Absolutely delightful gig with Bruce Barth Trio in March saw the New Yorker being the first to play the upgraded Baby Grand piano, it will settle down quickly and already promises to be a very positive addition to our gigs for the future.

April kicks off early (Sun 2) with some old friends reuinting; Alan Barnes & Bruce Adams as a frontline with Dave Newton at the piano; then we play away at Zion Arts for an acoustic gig on Tues 11th with Rebecca Pronsky. Finally on Sun 23rd back at the 'Chicken' with the Jake McMurchie's Quartet, a Bristol musician who has worked very hard at his music and (in my opinion) has now moved into the 'Top Class' bracket.

Cheers, Ian

Alan Barnes & Bruce Adams Quintet

Sun 2 Apr 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book

Alan Barnes & Bruce Adams

When these two get together fireworks happen. Both top players in their own right, when on stage as a frontline horn section they play off each other brilliantly and compete with amazing technique and equally quick one-liners that has audiences loving the music and having a fun night out.

Alan Barnes has won so many instrumental Jazz awards his sideboard is probably made of reinforced concrete, a serial British Jazz Awards winner on Tenor, Alto, Baritone and Clarinet he also won the prestigious BBC Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year in 2001 and 2006. As well as starring with a who’s who of the UK jazz scene from Humphrey Littleton and Johnny Dankworth to Stan Tracey and Gilad Atzmon, he’s also in demand for TV and film work and in other styles of music with such diverse artists as: Selina Jones, Bjork, Bryan Ferry, Michel Le Grande, Van Morrison, Clare Teale, Westlife and Jamie Cullum.

Bruce Adams is a true powerhouse on trumpet and a deft performer on the beautifully toned Flugelhorn; he also used to live in Bristol for many years. He cut his musical teeth on solid commercial work – on cruise liners, in dance halls, music halls, and even worked in support of comedy legends like, Tony Hancock and Freddie Starr. He has been a regular jazz poll-winner and with his spectacular range and power on the instrument has been in demand as a lead, and jazz trumpet man. Bruce has often worked as a special guest soloist with both the Scottish Radio Orchestra and the BBC Big Band.

I’ve agreed with the frontline to use a locally based rhythm section and as Alan and Bruce’s regular piano partner David Newton is now a Bath resident, it seems silly not get one of the best on board! David has been voted best Jazz Pianist in the British Jazz Awards ‘thirteenth’ times and was made a Fellow of Leeds College of Music in 2003 where he now teaches jazz piano. One of the most melodic and well-loved pianists around. To round off the backline Riaan Vosloo and Andy Hague will ensure a driving backing for the terrible two out front, sure to be a great night......... read more

Rebecca Pronsky w/Rich Bennett (USA)

Tue 11 Apr 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Zion Community Space Book

Rebecca Pronsky & Rich Bennett

Rebecca Pronsky is a born and raised Brooklynite whose music confidently straddles the boundaries of country roots, jazz, rockabilly, and folk. Dubbed the folk Queen of Brooklyn, she creates a distinctive sound, which at times feels like The Smiths relocated to Nashville or Stevie Nicks singing with Ennio Morricone. Her voice possesses a glorious natural vibrato that she uses beautifully on long held notes and her warm off the cuff humour always endears her to audiences the world over.

Rebecca is a triple threat. She’s got a “voice to die for” (Maverick), song-writing talent that showcases “…brutal, cutting lyricism” (Ithaca Times), and a masterful collaborator: guitarist and producer Rich Bennett, who “…puts the trimmings on the music with a battery of echo drenched, twangy leads” (Blurt).

In 2015, Rebecca and Rich launched Acme Hall Studios, a recording studio and music education space in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where they teach, record, and inspire musicians of all levels.

In 2013, Rebecca was honoured to have her album Only Daughter named a “Top 10 Country Album of the Year” by the UK’s The Telegraph, alongside Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle.

**** This is ‘proper’ country music, not the sort that harks back to the past, but the sort that’s urban as it is rural, not afraid to be sophisticated… Pronsky is the complete package: interpreter, writer, singer and (together with guitarist Rich Bennett, whose licks and leads are a critical part of the music) producer. A great way to start the year. ~ Maverick

Pronsky's voice conveys the wisdom of experience...over a wash of noir-ishly twangy guitars. ~ NPR

Rebecca is well worth a listen and she’s in Bristol at Zion Arts on this night….twang and all!......read more

Jake McMurchie Quartet

Sun 23 Apr 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Hen & Chicken Book

Jake McMurchie

Saxophonist Jake McMurchie has grown in stature to become one of Bristol’s finest players, gaining both national and international recognition for his work with Get The Blessing, and more recently with his project Michelson Morley, which blends acoustic and electronic sounds.

Born in London, raised in Bristol, and Cambridge educated, Jake has been an influential member of the thriving South West jazz scene for nearly two decades. Even in his early days, I was taken with his energy to learn and get better. Many young players come along but few put the work and effort in to strive for excellence and personal growth on their chosen instrument. There is no doubt (in my experience); that Jake has put the hard yards in and has reaped the reward. He is a top class musician and one who is in command of his instrument.

The gig I heard him play with this new quartet at the Be-Bop just before Christmas was a delight, his sound was mature and full of ideas and I have no hesitation in adding him to our quality programme for 2017

...the inventive McMurchie, his sensual tone falling somewhere between early Sonny Rollins and Plas Johnson, was a revelation. Where has he been? ~ London Evening Standard

…a very, very good saxophonist. Very original, very passionate…a very sexy sound ~ Jack Massarik, Radio 3 Jazz Line-up

Tonight’s new quartet line-up sees Jake joined by guitarist Dan Waldman, a sensational player currently based in Bristol who has previously divided his time between New York and London. His own quartet features ace alto saxophonist Will Vinson. Bassist Riaan Vosloo teaches at Leeds College of Music, and is currently working on his doctorate at Birmingham Conservatoire. The group is completed by Andy Hague on drums.........read more

Ian Sherwood (Canada)

Tue 9 May 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Zion Community Space Book

Ian Sherwood

Everywhere To Go is Sherwood’s latest studio creation. The album is considered to be his best to date and is chock-full of instantly appealing hooks and singable choruses while sitting comfortably in Sherwood’s signature style of imaginative, narrative writing.

....beautiful lyrics, and beautiful images in his songs ~ CBC’s Freestyle

Sherwood is a musician, story teller and a constant creator. He has penned tunes for many other artists as well as for theatre, film and television. He was named Contemporary Singer of the Year by the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards, Best Male Artist of the Year by the 2012 International Acoustic Music Awards and was the 2008 and 2010 Music Nova Scotia Musician Of The Year. Bob Mersereau of CBC Radio, Fredericton described him as “… a natural performer who entertains as much with his wit and stories as with his songs.”

….impressive guitar work amid catchy hook lines galore, surely the main thought in the room was…Yep! It’s only a matter of time before he’s a household name. ~ Todd MacLean, Charlottetown Guardian

His shows are infectious and he has a sound which covers Folk and Americana with a light popish feel through his songs; which when you hear them sounds like they should be smash hits for likes of a Robbie Williams or a Gary Barlow. However the songs and delivery is distinctly Ian’s own and his wonderful guitar playing combined with his sharp saxophone licks; plus the use of overlaying sounds to create his own backing band, makes for a great night of entertainment, check him out!......read more