Tis the season of good will and although you had to pay for your drinks, the wine vaults beneath St. James were a good place to begin the run in to Christmas with guest Art Themen closing a great Autumn Season for the resident Jazz House Trio last night.They were in fine swing too. Themen’s reliably entertaining (whether on the horn or with the banter) and its hard not to grin at all the Dexter Gordon quotes and hints and the plain, no nonsense hard swinging set he delivers. We are almost getting blase about the quality of the parade of guests Wade Edwards has secured – he’s definitely in line for one my new honors again, especially with a programme next term that’s got Bobby Wellins and Jason Rebello on it before the end of February. But before then look over to The Bell. The Pushy Doctors are there on Monday. There have been a number of Bristol outings recently and is there a smugness in the air, that you have to come to Bristol/ Bath area to see Andy Sheppard letting his hair down (hmmm… maybe that’s Dan Moore) in this particular trio? They veer between incendiary post bop jazz, uber cheese delivered so seriously its genuinely moving and full on rollicking, rocking organ trio fun. Who knows what the repertoire will be but I expect to laugh, cry and whoop before the evening’s out. And as if that wasn’t blessing enough, we can get some more on Wednesday at the same venue. Get The Blessing are there with Clive Deamer back from Radiohead duties it’s rumoured. Influence spotting is a fun game with this lot, but when it comes down to it there are legion catchy, often rocky riffs and tunes, not much singing and a world class ensemble that have most critics scrabbling for superlatives. They fit right in with the uncategorisable creative British Jazz scene of the moment. And they are popping over from Bristol on Wednesday. It’d be a crime to miss it.
pReview: Seasonal warming, Sheppards and Blessings (from Wine Vaults to Bells)