Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol

Wow! What a start to the New Year with a near capacity crowd for a night of World Class jazz with Andy Sheppard, Denny Ilett and their Hotel Bristol group. With 130+ audience the atmosphere was cracking and the music rose to the occasion with some beautifully crafted tunes, some hard edged and a couple with a large dose of humour. The musicianship, as you would expect was exceptional. Following that we had 50+ for Ant Law's Quintet, equally enthralling but very different in style. If we could get an average of that audience on a regular jazz or acoustic artist is out of our remit, so keep coming out for these talented performers, the standard is always in the top bracket.

Cheers, Ian

Gilad Atzmon & the Orient House Ensemble

Sun 1 Mar 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book

Orient House Ensemble

Gilad Atzmon is a naturalised British Jazz artist and author. Born in Israel in 1963 and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem (Composition and Jazz). That’s the technical stuff; but it’s the man himself that draws people in as a ‘person of interest’; a super musician with a genuineness that exceeds the norm, a true force of nature. He’s controversial and critical, sometimes loud and obnoxious; but always with that REAL human feel of a person who cares passionately about his music, his politics and the fate of others in not so well-off circumstances.

In 2000 Gilad founded the Orient House Ensemble in London and started re-defining his own roots in the light of his emerging ethical awareness. He found that sound he had been looking for. Over the years Gilad Atzmon's music has moved increasingly toward a cultural hybrid. As a bandleader and reed specialist, he has been amazing his listeners with his powerful personal style that combines great bebop artistry and Middle-Eastern roots in a sophisticated, sometimes ironical manner. Influenced by Coltrane’s powerful approach on the sax, Gilad's live performances are simply breathtaking and overwhelming. His album Exile was the BBC jazz album of the year. He’s been described by John Lewis at the Guardian as the “hardest-gigging man in British jazz".

His albums, of which he has recorded fifteen albums to date, often explore political themes and the music of the Middle East, he also writes on political matters, social issues, Jewish identity and culture. His papers are published on vast numbers of press outlets around the world.

Whatever your view on that complicated political subject; the musicianship is beyond doubt, the combined explosive energy with heart rending musical compositions always hit the spot for the benefit of all in attendance, a not-to-be-missed gig on any music more

Gilad Atzmon, the expat Israeli saxophonist/clarinettist, combines thrilling jazz musicianship with a maverick political intelligence ~ The Guardian ***

Jimbo & Griff

Fri 27 Mar 8:15 (£10/8)Hen & Chicken Book

"Reclaimed"    - the Album Launch

Reynolds and Griffiths

After 40 years of making music together Jim and Dave have recorded many times, with the two SMILE albums (with Stuart Gordon) and with Dave contributing to many of Jim's solo albums but this is the first time Jim and Dave have recorded an album of just the two of them with some of their favourite songs and tunes that capture the magic of their stage performances as a duo. The album entitled Reclaimed is to be launched on this gig and should make a valued addition to anyone’s collection.

Jim Reynolds has been on the local folk and acoustic scene for over thirty years and is renowned for his laid back laconic style with beautifully light, breathy voice. He is master of the claw hammer style of guitar picking, there isn’t anyone playing guitar like him around. It involves all fingers of his left-picking-hand to have ‘picks’ strapped to each finger and all are used to full effect, on blues and ragtime tunes especially. His finely crafted songs and guitar are a pleasure to listen to and live performances are always memorable, much of his music revolves around extremely sensitive songs about life, people and relationships, while others are tongue in cheek, and a few with a lot of humour!

Dave Griffiths was originally known in Bristol for his double bass playing with many of the best local jazz outfits, he also leads the seven piece Mingus Fingers band a tribute to the great Charles Mingus. Dave also passed on his knowledge as an educator through the Bristol Jazz Workshops. As far back as the 60’s Dave took up playing Mandolin but didn’t perform much with it after moving to Bristol and playing mostly jazz. In the 90’s his Mandolin got dusted off and he rekindled his passion for the instrument, by creating the very expressive Mandolin Express to feature the many different styles of mandolin music including Classical, Gypsy, Ragtime and Italian. He now has two other groups; a quartet called Brejeiro playing the jazz based Samba music of Brazil called Choro, and he recently formed Duo Recado a mandolin and guitar team with guitarist Helen James allowing him to explore the full repertoire of the mandolin especially romantic Italian and more ethnic sources.

Local radio celebrity Keith Warmington often sits in with the guys on Harmonica and wrote the sleeve notes for the Reclaimed album (full version on gig page):
The last time I saw Jim and Dave was in a packed bar in Bristol and although pints were consumed, it was clear that everyone was there for the music; and what a feast of music there was too. It was the sort of gig that you'd liked to have taken home with you, and now, with this new album you can! [at a special price of £8 at the gig] more