James Gardiner Bateman/ Josh Arcoleo, Future Inn, Thursday 30th January

For the second time in a couple of weeks James Gardiner Bateman rounded up some pals, most of whom are mainly resident at the London end of the M4 and brought them along to a Bristol stage to huff, puff and serenade away any remaining new year cobwebs (more on the first outing here). This time the local jazzerati were out in force, swelling the already healthy numbers at the Future Inn’s lovely downstairs jazz space, the lure of the combination of  James, another local lad made very good, Josh Arcoleo and the the un- advertised but somehow known about local(ish) titan of jazz on piano Jason Rebello was irresistible.  jgb_futureinnThe energy levels started high with James and Josh ripping through the boppish theme of Tears Inside, absolutely in step before James leapt off into a blistering solo.  A marker was down. Gradually their distinctive personalities emerged. There was no concealing what an even more exciting player Josh Arcoleo has become since he played regularly around Bristol as a young tyro and protege of Pee Wee Ellis before taking the inevitable trip to London. Bemsha Swing, closing the first set, was wound up by his tenor sketching the familar melody out, stretching the time, sliding phrases through the cycling harmony injecting a fierce propulsive groove.  The second set went up a gear. Everytime the youthful rhythm section revved it up a bit more, Jason Rebello seemed to get more comfortable and more dazzling. On Strasbourg St. Denis , a Roy Hargrove funky groover, the chocks seemed to come away and overlapping riffs, locked hands blocked chord passages and sizzlingly groovy runs had everyone whooping. Drummer Ed Richardson (one of those London visitors) responded with a fabulously melodic solo whilst maintaining an uncompromising thumping groove . He did it again on the closer, a frenetic Rhythm Changes that also produced another explosive Rebello solo this time managing to channel and update the spirit of Herbie Hancock and Kenny Kirkland on blazing bop.  James had slowed it down for a ballad earlier and lured bass player Chris Hyson out of the shadows. There was no mistaking the all round quality of this band. They may have just been taking  a gallop through a few of Mr Gardiner Bateman’s favourite tunes, but the result was thrilling and will surely be on a few ‘best of the year lists’ if memories are still clear in eleven months time.  Appreciating and celebrating organisers and do-ers always gets my vote and as he did at the  BeBop Club a couple of weeks ago, James name checked organisers and door folk. This time its Steve Williams who has kept this free, weekly session going with an increasingly varied and high quality programme.  Next week sees Dave Newton there with a trio. The rest of the programme is here


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