Sadly, I was unable to find a venue in time for Otis Gibb's tour this time so we have mutually agreed to wait till next time, for a Bristol re-visit. This month finishes in easy listening style with melodic, upbeat jazz from ARQ and the folk sounds of award winning duo While & Matthews, who are celebrating 20 years as a partnership, with no signs of slowing down either in quality or entertainment.

November is looking very good with three Sundays booked. A welcome return to Bristol for former resident Tim Richards (Spirit Level, Jerry Underwood) with his ‘Hextet‘ featuring; Ed Jones on sax and former long time Ronnie Scott sideman, Dick Pearce on trumpet. Always delighted to welcome back Clive Gregson when he’s over from the States, one of the finest songwriters the UK has exported to write for US luminaries such as Nanci Griffiths, Dennis Locorriere and Kim Carnes. Finishing off November is the very inventive, local, groove based outfit LUND Quartet who will be premiering a batch of brand new material for the first time on this gig.

Cheers, Ian

While & Matthews: ***** 20th Anniversary Tour *****

Thu 30 Oct 7:30 for 8:15 (£13/11)Hen & Chicken Book


The multi-award winning Chris While & Julie Matthews are out on tour this year celebrating their 20th Anniversary of performing as a duo. Along the way the have amassed a loyal army of fans who constantly yearn for new material and recordings each year. To fulfil that need they are releasing their new CD Who We Are which can be bought at the gigs, prior to release in November.

However they always try ways to reach new audiences and have issued an offer to all newcomers. So if you can bring a friend along to a While & Matthews gig and experience the girls LIVE, they will give the newcomers a free Best Of album. For seasoned followers they have launched a loyalty card system, original art work prints and a package of two back catalogue CD’s on a special price. Check their webpage below for full details. They are also running an ‘Online request’ page from which they will choose selected tunes from the audiences.

So plenty of good reasons to come along and listen to this supremely talented and professional pairing, you will be in for a thoroughly entertaining evening on many levels. more

Tim Richards Hextet

Sun 9 Nov 7:30 for 8:15 (£15/13)Hen & Chicken Book

Tim Richards Hextet

London born Tim Richards has ‘previous’ in Bristol having lived here for many years from the mid 70’s onward. He was at the core of many happening things back then and indeed formed the seminal band Spirit Level here in 1979, a band that was to last 20 years and produce some of the most driving UK based jazz around. If I had to compare those times and significance in the change in style and energy of the jazz sound at that time, I would have to liken it to how Punk affected the pop scene in the UK.

Along with Sphere (Andy Sheppard and co) they put Bristol on the map for harnessing a growing breed of young UK jazz musicians that would go on to tour all across Europe and beyond. After appearing at the 1985 Vienne Jazz Festival on the same bill as Miles Davis, they teamed up with US trumpeter Jack Walrath (ex-Mingus) for a series of UK and European dates, recording the acclaimed Killer Bunnies album (Spotlite). Starting with Paul Dunmall and Dave Holdsworth; personnel would change to include Tony Orrell (d), Paul Ansty (b) and the brilliant and much missed Jerry Underwood (Saxes). They were a wonderfully exciting band in those days and energy lives on in Tim’s compositions today.

After moving back to London, he continued the quartet until 1999, when he expanded the band to form the 9-piece Great Spirit and they continued to tour until 2006. Tonight is a pared down version of Great Spirit (who never managed to visit Bristol) and features two other members from that time in the powerhouse saxophonist Ed Jones (US3, Incognito and Killer Shrimp) and Dick Pearce trumpeter and former long-time sideman for Ronnie Scott’s house quintet. He also worked with Stan Tracey among many others.

Another former Bristol resident on bass is Dominic Howles who worked with Tim on his trio work. The band is completed with talented youngsters Ralph Wyld on vibes who is finishing his final year at the Royal Academy of Music and drummer Pete Ibbetson who made a name for himself working around the world with the Puppini Sisters and helped form the SE Collective.

Expect driving, melodic jazz, yet with a contemporary edge that has a swing and gritty feel that still gets your heart beating a little more

A unique mixture formed from his admiration of both the expansive, robust playing of McCoy Tyner and the luminous delicacy of Abdullah Ibrahim. ~ The TIMES

Clive Gregson

Sun 16 Nov 7:30 for 8:15 (£11/9)Hen & Chicken Book

Clive Gregson

Fresh from opening solo for Jools Holland’s band at Colston Hall on the Friday (14th) before this gig; Clive Gregson is a supremely accomplished singer, musician and record producer (Michelle Shocked and Nick Drake). Mary Chapin Carpenter named Clive as one of her favourite songwriters.

More musical expertise than is usually good for one man. ~ Time Out

In a career spanning nearly three decades, Manchester-born, Texas-based Clive Gregson has earned a reputation as one of the most talented, innovative and respected names in the music industry. He does, as The Independent observed, “the lot” – not just a consummate songwriter he is also a top guitarist, keyboard player, singer and skilled producer.

Founder member of the cult Manchester rock quartet Any Trouble, signed to Stiff Records and then EMI America in the eighties (reuniting in 2007 to release an all-new album Life in Reverse), Clive went on to make five albums with singer Christine Collister; a partnership described by Rolling Stone as the state of the art in British folk-rock.

Along the road from pop frontman to singer-songwriter, Clive has followed many musical diversions. He toured and recorded with Richard Thompson (1982 to 1992), Nanci Griffith (1996 to 2007), Eddi Reader and Boo Hewerdine (1993 and 1999), Plainsong (1997) and he was the musical director for the Dennis Locorriere "Hits & History" tour in 2007, which resulted in a gold album and a concert DVD that also charted.

His songs have been recorded by many artists, including Nanci Griffith, Kim Carnes, Fairport Convention, Claire Martin, Norma Waterson and Smokie. Nanci's version of I Love This Town (performed as a duet with Jimmy Buffett) was released as a single in 2006 and became a radio hit in both America and the more

If Clive had come from Texas instead of Manchester, he’d be spoken of in the same reverential breath as Butch Hancock or Guy Clark. ~ Vox, USA

LUND Quartet

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

LUND Quartet

‘Lund’ in Norwegian means a small clearing in a forest, a glade; and that mental image very ideally matches what these four guys are all about. Self taught pianist Simon has Norwegian heritage and it also happens to be his family name from those roots. Having come to this music from various backgrounds like Punk, Reggae, Classical and techno, they all seem to have simply elevated, simultaneously to this music.

This is cool, and possibly unique. ~ Igloo Magazine

I was later to find out they had been creating and practicing their unique brand of what is probably best described as Scandinavian effected, groove based jazz; that recalls Esbjorn Svenson with a lighter touch, and has rhythmic signatures that wouldn’t be out of place in a high end cocktail club. They had been practising for months and months that ran to over a year plus, before even thinking about performing it live. A dedication that’s quite rare.

When first I happened across these guys it was one of the weirdest yet delightful happenings I’ve had. I’d been invited by acquaintance Rob Salvidge (who I knew from BBC Radio) the Skipper of the good ship Matthew to a promotional event on board. Initially I couldn’t find where in the docks they were meant to be boarding, and so I was meandering along by the Buttery opposite the Lloyds amphitheatre. It was a chill autumn night and the light had just about gone, and then I heard this eerie, light, strange sound drifting over the water. As I turned I saw the Matthew silently gliding over the moon cast still water like a swan, with LUND on deck under fairy lights, producing this totally ethereal sound. It made me laugh initially and then stand in awe as they floated (seemingly) by. I caught up outside the Arnolfini, listened to a full set and was smitten!

I invited them to play a proper gig at Future Inns and then encouraged them to enter a young musician competition event we did there; and they came a valiant second (to James Gardiner Bateman’s band, brim full of bright young Royal Academy things).

Since then they have flown to greater things, including launching their well received and beautifully put together debut album; simply titled LUND Quartet, ventured to the continent to play in places from Tallinn to many parts of France, and gigs around the UK at clubs, and festivals.

This is simply beautiful jazz music with a modern twist ~ Meme Magazine

Now they are ready to unleash more new material after a similar length of development behind closed doors. I’m very happy to be putting this gig on tonight so we can all grab some more LUND. Do not miss this, you will be intrigued and yet enjoy every drop of more

Brilliant. It's got something quintessentially Bristol about it, and yet something so different. It's jazz, it's turntablism and it’s great! ~ Richard Pitt, BBC Introducing