Fringe Jazz, the weekly gig in Clifton’s Fringe Bar that never seems to rest, is celebrating 5 years this Autumn. They’ve moved out to the pub round the corner and back again in that time and Jon Taylor has put together the usual mouth watering programme to celebrate. I’ve also detected an (admittedly tenuous) New York connection.
On a recent, all to brief, flit through New York, I sought out a CD store in a fairly shabby corner of lower Manhattan. The spray painted shutters and steps down to the the cellar did look a little un-promising. The Downtown Music Gallery does have a reputation however, both stocking a huge selection of the free-er, scronkier end of improvised music and even hosting occasional gigs. Descending, I turned out to be the only customer at that time and got a quick guided tour of the stacks. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when my eyes fell on some very familiar names in the first pile I looked at. Right there in the middle, a Paul Dunmall trio album with Bristol lads Tony Orrell and Jim Barr. Meanwhile, back at the fringe this very week (September 13), Paul Dunmall is in trio with Tony Orrell. It’s the mighty Percy Pursglove on bass this time. Now there’s a New York connection. That’s pretty representative of the quality of the Fringe’s programme (check out the full listings here). There’s a couple more I’ll flag.
On the 11th October, Martin Speake, Hans Koller, Calum Gourlay and Jeff Williams bring their Monk project to the bijou back room. This is a longstanding collaboration formed to play as many of Monk’s collaborations as possible and has been seen regularly at London’s Vortex club. London Jazz interviewed Gourlay about it. Speake is a creative veteran of the UK scene, last seen in Bristol with the legendary Bobo Stenson. Koller also has a formidable CV and Brooklyn-ite Jeff Williams provides another New York connection, dividing his time between there and UK and has a long history and huge reputation both sides of the pond. 15th November sees ECM recording artist Iain Ballamy return, this time with his unique duo with Norwegian button accordionist Stian Cartensen. A Nordic rather than a New York connection, but a rare opportunity to catch this extraordinary collaboration.
Too many words are required to summarise the whole programme, but there are plenty more gems there with the best of our local scene well represented. Let’s keep supporting the Fringe – and here’s to five more years!