All-in-one-Helmet, Future Inns, Bristol, Sunday 19th December

Last Sunday was the last Future Inn gig of the year and appearing between complimentary mince pies and a free raffle of Ian Storrer’s surplus CDs were All-in-one- Helmet.

All in one Helmet with the very special guest

They won the of ‘battle of the young jazz bands’ competition earlier in the year and this gig was part of their prize. That said, they were worthy of the slot competition or no competition. Jame Gardiner-bateman has been well known in Bristol for a few years, ripping it up with the other James (Morton) at many a jam session and appearing in numerous funky line-up including Dennis Rollins’ band. This band shows a very different side to him.  The line up of alto, trumpet, bass and drums might create a certain expectation of the style of music and sure enough towards the end of the first set they set about and Ornette Coleman blues with gusto. But there’s much more to this genuinely young band (several members still undergraduates at London colleges, James Maddren on drums a recent graduate and already making a name for himself). They started with a loose, swinging up tempo number with a melody full twists and turns, sudden leaps through dissonant intervals and then segued into a stately hymn like tune which had rich, warm harmonic sound to it.

Freddie Gavita on trumpet really caught my ear. His soloing hints at a mischevious angular approach. He favoured those odd interval leaps and dissonant runs on the more up tempo tunes but played at almost a whisper on some of the more balladic tunes. His playing particularly made me think of ‘Magic Triangle’, a Dave Douglas line up of a few years ago. His arranging and composing added spice as well: the first set ended with a riotous arrangement of ‘In the Mood’

The second set saw the ‘very special guest’ aka Andy Shepard join the band on some more of their tunes and a Dewey Redman tune that he had taught them earlier in the day and so the slow cooking of another fine gig reached a climax (eeek – sorry for the slightly overdone metaphor there).

This marked the end of the first full year of the club at the Future Inn and it’s worth pausing to remember the quality and range of the programme there’s been over the last 12 months. Hat’s off to Ian Storrer I say and the invisible support of the Future Inn management that makes it possible. Let’s hope 2011 is a good one for the club, January’s proramme is looking pretty tasty (Ivo Neame, Stan Sulzman with Jim Mullen, Phil Robson with mark Turner, Mike westbrook, Mick Hutton) – bring it on!

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