Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol

2016 was a pretty good year with average audiences up 15% but we need another similar increase this year to be able to give us the opportunity to say we are able to put anyone on in Bristol....which would be great all round! Andy Sheppard's 'Hotel Bristol' finished off the year in real style and a near full house. He's also just had an album with Carla Bley 'Andando el Tiempo' rated as a 5***** Masterpiece (1 of 15) in Downbeat Magazine's albums of 2016 in the USA, so congrats for that.

We kick off 2017 with two very nice gigs in January: Cloudmakers Trio 'FIVE' Tour (Sun 15) featuring Jim Hart's Vibes-led trio with guests; Austrian guitarist Hannes Riepler and Antonin Tri Hoang from France on sax. Thats followed on the 29th with the amazing Andy Hague Big Band who were superb last March, this time with three changes to the line-up. Hope you can make it along to these in the New Year

Cheers, Ian

The Andy Hague Big Band

Sun 29 Jan 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book

The Andy Hague Big Band

Great to have another run-out of Andy’s Big band, last year’s gig in March was brilliant and well attended. That performance was to mark Andy’s 50th, this time the gloves are off for some new pieces and all the favourites.

Trumpeter Andy Hague first formed a big band back in 2005 to mark his 40th birthday. The idea was to showcase the wealth of jazz talent residing in Bristol, and to use as far as possible the musicians with whom Andy played most frequently. The band have since played at The Tobacco Factory, St George's, the Cresswell Centre and Swanage Jazz Festival, gaining excellent reviews.

His band was superb, relaxed yet focussed, packed with serious soloists, Hague among them, the writing quite spell-binding – Jazz Journal

All the music performed has been arranged by Andy, and the repertoire is a mixture of original compositions and jazz standards. The aim has been to stay true to the traditional big band sound and instrumentation whilst playing arrangements informed by current jazz styles.

The frontline soloing is a particular feature of the band that comprises some of Bristol’s finest and this time with a few bonus players stepping in; the spectacular Jonny Bruce on Trumpet (who missed the last gig) who always produces pyrotechnics; Saxophonist Ruth Hammond (depping for Nick Dover) who played beautifully in the trio/band in Bristol Old Vic’s production of “Sleeping Beauty” last Christmas and plays in numerous bands locally PLUS a lovely bonus will be Vince Ford (leader of the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra) on trombone who is always a delight to hear.

There really is no better sound than a Big Band in full flow, playing acoustically in a cosy setting, don’t miss this one! more

Tim Armacost’s Triad (USA & Austria)

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

Tim Armacost

The last time Tim was in Bristol was as part of the wonderful New York Standards Quartet I put on at the Colston Hall 2 back in April 2012 and that was a great gig and showed what a talented saxophonist Tim Armacost really is.

Tim Armacost has led a life of constant motion. He has gathered knowledge and experience around the globe, which forms the foundation of his passionate brand of jazz. Armacost was born in Los Angeles, but came of age as a musician in Tokyo, New Delhi and Amsterdam, where he burnished his reputation as an upcoming talent, with a big tenor sound and an impeccable rhythmic sense.

Armacost's career is distinguished by performance and recording credits alongside the likes of Al Foster, Jimmy Cobb, Kenny Barron, Tom Harrell, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Peter Erskine, Roy Hargrove, Paquito D'Rivera, Dave Kikoski, Lonnie Plaxico, Randy Brecker, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and the David Murray Big Band.

Grammy-nominated saxophonist and composer Tim Armacost has spent a lifetime of world traveling which has enhanced this multi-instrumentalist's absorption of cultural musics. A marquee artist of his generation currently based in NYC, Armacost has recorded for Concord, Smalls Live and Whirlwind Recordings to worldwide acclaim and is known for his rich and robust tenor sound and in-the-moment improvisations which are both steeped in the full breadth of the tradition yet singular to his own original voice. In addition to his own groups, Armacost co-leads the New York Standards Quartet, and the Brooklyn Big Band, for which he composes and arranges.

He's also written for Wynton Marsalis & the Lincoln Centre Orchestra as well as countless small groups and big bands while performing as a guest soloist in orchestras the world over and now bears it all with this upcoming tour in the classic saxophone trio format.

Michael Janisch is an electric and double bassist, composer, bandleader and producer and record label owner originally from the USA, now currently based in London, England. His frequent visits to Bristol over the last three years have shown us his versatility, full-toned sound and passion for playing time and groove with authenticity and dedication, no matter the context.

Drummer Klemens Marktl was born in Austria in 1976. After studying classical piano at a very young age Klemens discovered his passion for playing the drums. He studied drums in Austria, The Hague, Amsterdam and New York with Carl Allen, Ralph Peterson, Greg Hutchinson and Ari Hoenig, among others. He has toured and recorded with great jazz artists such as George Garzone, Seamus Blake, Barry Harris, Rick Margitza, and Kenny Werner. After 5½ years living in the Netherlands he moved to New York in 2003 and lived there for two years. He jumped right in the New York jazz scene and worked with many of those listed above. During that time he also formed his own quartet with Chris Cheek, Aaron Goldberg and Matt Penman which features his own compositions. Klemens currently lives in Vienna and tours as a sideman and with his own projects all over Europe.

This again is another chance to hear outstanding musicians coming out of New York, Armacost is in the forefront of the music emanating from the Big Apple, catch him yourself in Bristol more

Stephen Fearing (Canada)

Wed 15 Feb 7:30 for 8:15 (£12/10)Zion Community Space Book

Stephen Fearing

Of all the acoustic musicians I have had the privilege to work with in the past 30 years Stephen is undoubtedly in my all-time Top 10. Of the solo singer-songwriters he is unparalleled and my personal favourite song-meister.

Multiple Juno Award winner Stephen Fearing is one of the foremost performing singer-songwriters in Canada. Mixing powerful lyrics, creative arrangements and brilliant guitar playing, Fearing has built up a loyal and dedicated international audience with a wide range of songs - from his 1988 release Out to Sea, to his current offering Every Soul’s A Sailor. A founding member of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Stephen has collaborated with many artists including Richard Thompson, Sarah McLachlan, Tom Wilson, Colin Linden, Andy White and Suzie Vinnick.

Stephen’s music embodies a fierce intelligence, a haunting candour and a steady-handed pursuit of fleeting beauty. He exudes an abiding love for his craft and a respect for his audience that is reflected in two Juno awards (Canadian Grammy) and a touring circuit that includes festival stages and concert halls across Canada, Europe and the United States. A beguiling teller of tales and a singularly intense instrumentalist, Stephen Fearing is an alluring entertainer – heart-breaking, expansive and full of mirth. A stunning guitar player with a smooth, intimate and powerful voice, who throughout his career has penned some of the most literate, stirring and emotionally charged "folk" music you’re ever likely to hear. I have always loved politically based protest songs that encapsulate the angst I feel when injustices are committed by the establishment elite or by the big multi-nationals or the rich individuals who think committing offences against normal folk, is OK. Steve Tilston is one who always hits the mark; and Stephen Fearing is another that when he turns his attention to those subjects always delivers, one of which (on the new album) he explains thus:

As a spectator of Donald Trump’s con-man campaign of hate and fear, ‘Blowhard Nation’ came from a place of sarcastic outrage and ended up a Merle Haggard-inspired roots rock anthem. My desire to write the song came from an instinctual reaction to the politics of hate and grew into a desire to express my belief that voting for Trump or Brexit or The National Front is voting for bedlam. On the surface, these candidates may appear to scratch the itch that has driven you crazy, but in the end they will claw you to death and steal your humanity.

To read all about Stephen’s thoughts on the latest album, go to the first page of his website.

Listening to the songs on the long anticipated new album (released on 10 January 2017 ) Every Soul’s A Sailor you’ll be struck by his voice, melodies and stories - Stephen's on top form proudly wearing his influences whilst holding on to his truly original voice. As one reviewer puts it isn’t just what he does, it’s who he is. Stephen is a great performer with the wow factor, as well as being an all-round nice chap!

…showcase Fearing’s arresting voice, accomplished acoustic picking, and his ability to turn a phrase with ease. The storied songs invite you to grab a coffee, and sit and listen long. ~ No Depression magazine

Why not come along and experience it for yourself and find out what all the fuss is about… and as suggested by No Depression sit and listen more