Jasper Høiby’s Fellow Creatures, Yazz Ahmed and Dinosaur among the delights at Bristol Jazz Festival

Now in its fifth year the Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival has matured well, and this year's programme managed to balance crowd-pleasing headliners and popular mainstream jazz and blues acts with a weekend's worth of well-chosen contemporary jazz action that was gratifyingly well-attended.

Andy Sheppard's specially-commissioned soundtrack for Fritz Lang's silent classic Metropolis made for an impressive opener: Sheppard's score pitted an eight-strong horn section against his own trio with guitarist Eivand Aarset and Michele Rabbia's percussion. Their adroit and imaginative use of electronics wove around strongly thematic brass parts to capture the essence of the film's themes, notably the tension between the remorseless machinery and human needs. By leaving space for individual improvisation the music, notably the guitar and saxophone, was able to mirror the emotional tides of the story while permitting the more tightly scored music to return with split-second timing. As always with soundtrack performances, the trick was to make it interesting without being unduly distracting and this was certainly achieved.

TD-Jason-Rebello-02

By contrast, Jason Rebello's (above) solo piano performance was intense and intimate, drawing the listener into the physical mechanics of Herbie Hancock's richly riffing 'Canteloup Island' or Errol Garner's powerhouse stride on 'Play Piano Play'. These were rhythmically dense numbers, like his own 'Pearl', whereas his Jarretty ruminations for Sting's 'Every Little Thing' or the self-penned 'Closeness' played with the melody, savouring the possibilities of the phrasing. It was beautiful and absorbing music and all the more impressive for being played at lunchtime.

A similarly early start had bedevilled Dakhla Brass on Friday, but again this didn't hamper their performance which showcased new music from a forthcoming recording. This included 'Insomnia Sonia', a programmatic piece driven by a ticking clock, the four brass voices pulsing through the chorus and then derailing throughout the verse until a final becalming resolution. Their music was driven by contrasts – staccato/legato, tight harmony/chaotic anarchy, single time/double time – and a smart use of polyrhythmic overlay that made it a satisfyingly complex listen. After a year that took them to Montreal Jazz and the Albert Hall they have deservedly become local heroes.

TD-Atzmon--Barnes-02

Fans of classic bebop were well rewarded by Gilad Atzmon and Alan Barnes (above) whose Lowest Common Denominator's entertaining combination of drily antagonistic banter and briskly flamboyant playing drew a capacity audience. Moving easily between a choice of reed instruments this odd couple proved highly compatible in evoking a vintage sound with fresh energy on original numbers like the appropriately titled 'Alone Together' with Gilad's torrential alto well-matched to Alan's elegiac baritone sax thanks to Frank Harrison's no-nonsense piano. More bebop treats came from former Gillespie sideman Bobby Shew's evocation of 'My Friend Dizzy' with the veteran trumpeter supported by the festival's house big band in a set of favourites that included 'Manteca' and 'Groovin' High' with the Afro-Cuban groove of 'Tin Tin Deo' providing the set's real high-point.

TD-Yazz-Ahmed-Bristol-11

There was no doubting a shift in this year's festival attendance that, gratifyingly, packed out The Lantern's programme of contemporary jazz acts as never before. This included Yazz Ahmed's (above) septet performance, atmospheric Arabian-influenced music picked out through well-judged effected trumpet and Ralph Wyld's vibes, and complex compositions like 'La Saboteuse' and 'Her Light' unfolded with spellbinding assurance. Though there was no question that it was her compositional vision that defined the music there was also a strong sense of the individual musical personalities involved, notably Dudley Philips' expressive bass and Martin France's drumming that rode effortlessly over the often-complex time signatures and rhythms.

They were followed on Sunday evening by the much-anticipated Jasper Høiby's Fellow Creatures (below), whose interestingly eclectic set had only the slightest echoes of the bassist's long-standing trio, Phronesis, and its whirlwind pyrotechnics. Instead there was a conscious deliberation about their playing, suggesting the musicians were still exploring the ideas underpinning this coming together of three generations of British jazz in Loose Tubes alumnus Mark Lockheart, Jasper himself, and the trio of young players alongside them. Numbers like 'Spirit of the Bees' subverted what could have been a carnivalesque dance with little glitches, Will Barry's suppressed piano coalescing with tinkling bells, scattered rimshots and a laughing trumpet riposte.

TD-Fellow-Creatures-02

The self-consciousness of the set was possibly emphasised by having seen drummer Corrie Dick and trumpeter Laura Jurd (pictured top of page) on the same stage the night before in Laura's band Dinosaur. The fluid energy and assertiveness of Dinosaur's Miles-leaning music – a fresh take on the electric jazz-rock of the 1970s – gave it a confident momentum that was exhilarating to hear. On 'Living, Breathing' the trumpet needled at the writhing Elliot Galvin's fearlessly vintage electronica until Conor Chaplin's rigorous bass suddenly locked into the unobtrusively creative drumming like an idea suddenly making sense. It was moments like that (and there were many such) that made them appreciably the highlight of a pleasingly satisfying weekend.

– Tony Benjamin
– Photos by Tim Dickeson

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Instant Composers Pool Orchestra goes Dutch with UK and Ireland dates

Instant Composers Pool Orchestra goes Du…

The unique, internationally renowned Instant Composers Pool Orchestra launches Going...

Read More.....
Martin Taylor and Jazz at The Philharmonic concert to save Swanage Jazz Festival

Martin Taylor and Jazz at The Philharmon…

News that this year's 28th edition of the Swanage Jazz...

Read More.....
Nérija, Dinosaur and Jim Mullen among Parliamentary Jazz Award winners

Nérija, Dinosaur and Jim Mullen among Pa…

The 13th annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards took place for the...

Read More.....
Hugh Masekela withdraws from Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya concert due to ill health

Hugh Masekela withdraws from Abdullah Ib…

Revered South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela has announced that, due...

Read More.....
Dee Byrne's Entropi Radiate Amid Rough And Tumble At Kings Place Album Launch

Dee Byrne's Entropi Radiate Amid Rough A…

  The most striking thing about Moment Frozen, the second release from British...

Read More.....
Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach fire-up new Eastside Jazz Club

Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach fire-up …

The opening night of Birmingham's new Eastside Jazz Club featured...

Read More.....
James Taylor And Soweto Kinch Among Poetic Masters Of Rhythm And Rhyme At 2017 Limerick Fest

James Taylor And Soweto Kinch Among Poet…

  The Limerick Jazz Festival continues to spring surprises, and to...

Read More.....
Dave Liebman/Richie Beirach, Christine & Ingrid Jensen and Mark Turner head to Birmingham’s Eastside Jazz Club

Dave Liebman/Richie Beirach, Christine …

Jazz in the Midlands got a huge boost with the...

Read More.....
Mike Gibbs' Dramatic Big Band Birthday Bash A Blast At Birmingham's CBSO Centre

Mike Gibbs' Dramatic Big Band Birthday B…

  In celebration of his 80th year, the composer and arranger...

Read More.....
Mike Carr – 1937-2017

Mike Carr – 1937-2017

Mike Carr, who died on 22 September aged 79, was...

Read More.....
Jazz FM's Sarah Ward, Chris Philips and Nigel Williams up for radio  awards

Jazz FM's Sarah Ward, Chris Philips and …

Two of Jazz FM's longest serving presenters, DJs Sarah Ward...

Read More.....
Joon Moon Exclusive stream of ‘Moonshine Corner’

Joon Moon Exclusive stream of ‘Moonshine…

This year's EFG London Jazz Festival features a performance by...

Read More.....
Westbrook and Wakeman line up with the Uncommon Orchestra for A Bigger Show

Westbrook and Wakeman line up with the U…

Although Mike and Kate Westbrook are based in the West...

Read More.....
Afro-Beat Icon Tony Allen Sups At The Jazz Source For Capital Sidewinding Summit

Afro-Beat Icon Tony Allen Sups At The Ja…

One of the distinguishing marks of the London Jazz Cafe's...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll and Claire Martin play Jazz for Labour in Brighton

Liane Carroll and Claire Martin play Jaz…

Jazz for Labour is presenting multi-award winning singers Liane Carroll...

Read More.....
Pianist Millar Shows Promise At Pizza

Pianist Millar Shows Promise At Pizza

  As the example of Artist Share amply demonstrates, crowdfunding initiatives...

Read More.....
Gustafsson's Vinyl-Collecting Confessions Published

Gustafsson's Vinyl-Collecting Confession…

Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson has trawled the archives of his...

Read More.....
WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP sets by entering the Jazzwise Reader Survey

WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP s…

We'd love to know what you think of Jazzwise. We...

Read More.....
Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble with nine new talents on board

Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble wit…

Leading UK pianist Zoe Rahman is set to head up...

Read More.....
Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBLE and Theon Cross Trio unite Chicago and London for International Anthems

Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBL…

Some of the most exciting names from London and Chicago's...

Read More.....
The Write Stuff adds new qualification for young writers aged 18-25

The Write Stuff adds new qualification f…

This year's Write Stuff music journalism course will return for...

Read More.....
Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New single from Wayne Shorter produced seven-piece Holophonor

Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New s…

Fast emerging US progressive jazz seven-piece Holophonor are set to...

Read More.....
Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees announced

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees …

  The nominees for the 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been...

Read More.....
John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack was one of those figures who seem to...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for Jazz Voice’s tenth anniversary at EFG London Jazz Festival

Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for…

The names have been revealed for this year's 10th edition...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Plays Ravel

Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Pl…

Swiss piano trio VEIN release their latest album, VEIN Plays...

Read More.....
Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orchestra for Turner Sims autumn/winter programme

Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orche…

Southampton's Turner Sims concert hall has a bumper crop of...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Innovation showcase – video preview

Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Inn…

This year's edition of the Steve Reid Innovation showcase will...

Read More.....
Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Events on tour

Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Event…

Pianist and composer Tom Millar starts his autumn tour this...

Read More.....
Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Brighton's Duke of York

Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Br…

  Colin Stetson has enough draw to fill this arthouse cinema...

Read More.....
Giovanni Hidalgo fundraiser at Jazz Cafe cancelled

Giovanni Hidalgo fundraiser at Jazz Cafe…

UPDATE: Since this story was first published (here and in...

Read More.....
Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen may have been two against...

Read More.....
Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ottignon added to EFG London Jazz Fest 25th anniversary Line-Up

Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ot…

This year's momentous 25th EFG London Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....
Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltrane hit silver screen

Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltr…

  September can be a quiet month for music fans, after...

Read More.....
Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Prom Night

Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Pro…

Charlie Mingus famously encouraged musicians to play without charts, creating...

Read More.....
Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South The Songbook – “…a British Quincy Jones”

Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South…

Pub conversations can get you in a world of grief...

Read More.....

ABJazzWise


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@GramophoneMag The Unanswered Question...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@ashleyslater247 hahaha
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA