It must be spring. Suddenly there’s a rash of premier league gigs in the next couple of weeks overlaying the regular fare of the merely top drawer. I’m not sure if its co-ordinated, but I fancy not. Just gone was Get the Blessing’s album launch gig at the Arnolfini, despite best intentions work and illness prevented my attendance. So I’ve missed the ‘post jazz’ (as I saw them referred to) thread of the non-festival, curses! Will have to make do with listening to the excellent new release OCDC . Next week sees an ECM micro thread with Tord Gusatvesn on Thursday night (22nd March) at St. Georges followed by Andy Sheppard’s latest project Trio Librero at the same venue on Friday. There’s an illuminating interview here with Andy to whet the appetite. Both these gigs see an intriguing new departure for st. George’s with free gigs in the bar afterwards – a fringe element to the non-festival? On Thursday night, singer Emily Wright (who impressed me recently in Jake McMurchie’s Trio) performs with her band Moonlight Saving Time and on Friday night it’s Andy Hague with his Quintet of Bristol’s finest. The following week the focus shifts with the hottest contemporary properties from both sides of the Atlantic at Colston Hall2 on 27th: Ambrose Akinmusire and Robert Mitchell 3io in support. Akinmusire’s album ‘When the Heart Emerges Glistening’ was definitely well up on my top play list of last year. As if all this wasn’t enough, the non festival rounds off with a rhythmic/world/ soul flavour on Friday 31st back at St. George’s: Roberto Fonseca supported by Ayannah Griffiths. The St. George’s site does the eulogies nicely. And if this isn’t enough, the fringe/ regular local scene offers a few tantalising alternatives. On Thursday 22nd, Iain Ballamy, world class tenor player with a compositional and improvising voice to equal local hero Shepps in my book, pops down to st. James Wine Vaults in Bath to perform with the resident Jazz House Trio. Friday 23rd see Asaf Sirkis Trio at The Be Bop Club in Bristol. The only drawback with all this is that total outlay on tickets would run into three figures so tough choices to be made. I wonder what I’ll go and see….
Bristol’s stealth jazz festival in March?