It was always likely that I was going to love this gig, but sometimes expectations are not fulfilled. Happily there were no disappointments on Friday and I had the feeling from the (more than) than capacity crowd that I was not alone in that view. Jonathan’s playing never fails to be inventive, lyrical and very groovy; the music of Michel Petrucciani is one of my jazz first loves as I’ve written elsewhere (is it bad form to reference your own posts?) – so a gig billed as JT playing the music of Michel was always going to get me there. Add in the local connections – Jon was a long time Bristol resident, Dave Goodier local bass supremo and Andy Hague on drums completing the trio – and much to look forward to.
I don’t know when I heard so many Michel P compositions in one go. The trio really played them beautifullly as well. Jon would often start sounding a bit like Mr. P himself with the odd Petrucciani – esque phrase, but then his own sense of shape and flow would emerge. The trio format meant there was plenty of space for Dave Goodier to remind us why he in such demand these days. At one point Jon referred to the compositions as songs and that captured the sense well, I thought, of real tunes, albeit quite complex at times. I was struck too by how much Latin and Brazilian style material there was, and I almost felt like I’d had too much cake at one point. Then in the second set the band dug in and played some of the more swinging jazz of the repertoire and had us all shouting for more at the end.