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The very first time I came to St George’s – pre-refurb, brown pews, late-80s – was to see the free-jazz legend Cecil Taylor in a solo double-bill shared with a classical pianist. After several beautiful miniatures played incredibly quietly, out came Cecil to give the Steinway some stick, pounding the keys so hard that the instrument may even have bounced across the floor. After a spellbinding hour of spontaneous invention, we all went wild and bayed for more. At length, Cecil came back out to enormous applause, bowed grandly, then proceeded to do exactly the same thing again. Many years later, I was programming jazz here myself, and although we’ve never managed to get Cecil Taylor back, there’s been some incredible shows, a partial, non-chronological list of which follows at the end of this blog. It’s been quite a mix, too, matching established stars with new names on the rise, and American and European acts with the best of the UK and local scenes. As the programme is self-financing, we’re limited by what we can afford (and I once just missed getting Charlie Haden, who died last week, in a duo with Pat Metheny), but otherwise there’s not a great deal that’s passed us by. Gregory Porter, who performed here last March, is headlining the Brecon Jazz Festival in August at £35 a ticket.

This autumn’s International Jazz Series continues the story while fulfilling two increasingly vital functions: introducing St George’s jazz audience to important new acts, and presenting the music in as natural a way as we can, with performers playing acoustically, without a PA, wherever possible. As regards the former function (and the only one of the five shows that demands a PA), our opening jazz attraction requires a footnote or two: Bill Laurance Project (Friday 3 October), features the three main-men (bassist/leader Michael League, drummer Robert ‘Sput’ Searight, and pianist Laurance) from the Grammy-winning band of the moment Snarky Puppy. The biggest new name to hit jazz since the aforementioned Gregory Porter, Snarky Puppy are a phenomenon, a musical collective of variable size now based in Brooklyn who originally formed as students at the University of North Texas, and whose members have played with artists as diverse as Eryka Badu, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Marcus Miller and Roy Hargrove. Accompanied by a string quartet drawn from jazz-repertoire specialists the Heritage Orchestra, Laurance and the Snarky trio are presenting the music from his just-out album, ‘Flint’, in a premiere performance (it’s the first date of the tour) where the studio overdubs get translated into real-time. It’s a belter of an album whose big, anthemic tunes, dense harmonies and luxuriant strings really connect with the listener, and to hear it played live is going to be a major event. Here’s a taster.

Laurance,-Bill-001

The four acoustic jazz dates are all about the sound: Gilad with Strings (Thursday 23 October) pairs alto saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and his superb quartet with the Sigamos String Quartet in Ros Stephen’s re-arrangements of music from one of the best jazz albums ever made: ‘Charlie Parker With Strings’. Tommy Smith & Brian Kellock (Thursday 20 November) is a Great American Songbook smooch-fest, with saxophonist Smith and pianist Kellock playing tunes from their lovely third album together, ‘Whispering of the Stars’. Presented as part of our Scene Norway Plus Day (Saturday 22 November), pianist Ketil Bjornstad is an ECM Records star whose many albums for the label offer a kind of Northern European counterpart to the work of Keith Jarrett. In a unique date especially for St George’s, Bjornstad plays solo and talks about his life and work – including a biography of Edvard Munch – with Late Junction’s Fiona Talkington. The last jazz date of the year is a real treat: Dave Liebman, the saxophonist who played with Miles Davis in one of his most experimental periods, appears as the guest of Swiss piano trio Vein. As Liebman just about wrote the book on contemporary jazz sax playing, this is an audience with the master.

- john surman – joshua redman – zoe rahman – andy sheppard – joe lovano – tigran – gregory porter – african jazz all stars – gretchen parlato – jazz jamaica – oriole – ketil bjornstad – basquiat strings – michael wollny – abdullah ibrahim – nu civilisation orchestra – carla bley – larry stabbins – fred hersch – portico quartet – lee konitz – keith tippett – liam noble – uri caine – christine tobin – phil robson – nick smart plays nick drake – e.s.t. – kenny wheeler orchestra – lionel loueke – mike gibbs orchestra – trio libero – nat birchall – bill frisell – rita marcotulli – matthew halsall – dennis rollins – john taylor trio – dave stapleton quintet/solo/ensemble – ivo neame – julian arguelles – marc ribot – andy hague quintet & big band – juliet roberts – tommy smith – marius neset – daniel herskedal – adrian utley guitar orchestra – tord gustavsen trio & ensemble – courtney pine – afropeans big band – tomasz stanko – kurt elling – get the blessing – trio (marcin wasilewski) – ralph towner – gwilym simcock – richard galliano – brad mehldau trio – paolo fresu – acoustic triangle – susanna & the magical orchestra – dave newton – christian wallumrod ensemble – john law – denys baptiste – alan barnes – gary crosby – aki takese – soweto kinch – michael janisch – greg osby – enrico rava – richard bona – dan berglund – myrna hague – bobo stenson – joyce – kind of blue – gwyneth herbert – empirical – martin speake – cleo laine & john dankworth – alec dankworth – jacqui dankworth – steve beresford – john edwards – claire martin – richard rodney bennett – tim garland – mujician – arild andersen – neil yates – phronesis – nik bartsch ronin – neil cowley trio & strings – food – julia biel – arve henriksen – mark lockheart – steve swallow – cleveland watkiss – palle danielsson – nikki yeoh – brian kellock – kyle eastwood – stan sultzmann – gareth williams – gilad atzmon -

Phil Johnson – Senior Programme Producer

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Callow

It is with great pleasure that we continue to build on our partnership with BBC Radio. As you may know we work with BBC Radio 3 to bring unique live concerts directly to your home and home town (Bristol Baroque Festival May 2013, Brahms Experience October 2014). We are delighted to announce that, with BBC Radio 4, we are presenting an entirely different kind of event!

With Great Pleasure is a Radio 4 show, much like Desert Island Discs, which over the years has asked a host national treasures to discuss their favourite works of literature, passages of which are read live by professional actors. A recent show featured Sir Terry Wogan with readings by Sir David Jason. On Thursday 24th July the show will feature the favourite works of our beloved actor, Simon Callow. Simon will be joined by Patricia Hodge (Miranda’s hilarious Mother in BBC 1 TV comedy show MIRANDA) who will be reading works by Shakespeare, Dickens, Fitzgerald and more.

What’s even more extraordinary about this event is that the show is usually recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre, but in the coming months Simon Callow (CBE) and other guests (tbc) will share their readings with a live audience at St George’s Bristol!

For just £10 (plus booking fee) you can join these two great British actors for an unforgettable and personal experience. Click here to book.

To hear a clip from David Jason reading PG Woodhouse for Terry Wogan click here.

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Given the momentous events engulfing Ukraine, it is particularly fortunate that Bristol audiences can again experience the magnificent sound of this amazing a capella choir from Ukraine.

They present a programme of compelling intensity and precision in which the first half evokes the spiritual drama and gold-encrusted atmosphere of Eastern Orthodox tradition, whilst the second half features songs from Ukraine’s rich folk culture. The 25 professional singers are drawn from Ukraine’s top Male Choir, the Revutsky Academic Male Capella. A single lyric soprano soloist complements the awesome bass voices and adds a unique quality that distinguishes this choir.

vocalclassics.co.uk/boyan

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Debussy Suite Pour le Piano
Liszt Sposalizio; Petrarch Sonnet 104
Chopin Sonata in B flat minor
Scriabin Studies 11 & 12 Op 8

Angela Brownridge, described as ‘one of the world’s finest pianists’ by the New York Times, plays some of the greatest piano works by the composers featured in her recital.  The Debussy suite shows off every aspect of the piano’s capabilities and the Liszt works are two of his most beautiful and poetic.  The Chopin sonata shows the composer at the height of his dramatic and lyrical powers, and the highly romantic Scriabin studies are from the finest set to have come from Russia. Angela has played in major venues worldwide and with major orchestras.

“…thoughtful, magical, sensuous performances in some of the most remarkable and moving playing that will remain in the critic’s memory.”

The Times

 

 

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with Chris Packham

This talk contains encounters with hungry carnivores, close shaves with extinction, dangerous views about conservation and exposes the truth about our wildlife. Illustrated with his superb photographs and exaggerated with film clips Chris Packham presents an evening of zoological riches, humorous anecdotes and thought provoking questions about the creatures we love – and some we don’t. As ever, there will be time for questions at the end but what Chris really wants to know is why we have Facebook, Twitter, 3D, HD, PlayStation and X-Box but ‘tadpoles are not included’…

Event in aid of Secret World Wildlife Rescue

chrispackham.co.uk

 

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with Pedal Folk & TBC

The sun is shining and we’re celebrating with our new Summer Garden Series.  Drop in to our gardens, just a few footsteps from bustling Park Street, any Friday (5pm-9pm) and Saturday (1pm-9pm) throughout August*. Relax and enjoy live music, delicious food, outdoor bars and cocktails shaken by The Rummer Hotel.

Full details to be announced, but for the latest information about this fantastic series – including jazz and classical performances – keep checking the event pages.

Entry is FREE, no ticket required.

#summerseries


3pm: Pedal Folk

pedalfolk.co.uk/

5pm: Kevin Byrne

7.30pm: Small Street Stomp


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with Tom Davis

The sun is shining and we’re celebrating with our new Summer Garden Series.  Drop in to our gardens, just a few footsteps from bustling Park Street, any Friday (5pm-9pm) and Saturday (1pm-9pm) throughout August*. Relax and enjoy live music, delicious food, outdoor bars and cocktails shaken by The Rummer Hotel.

Full details to be announced, but for the latest information about this fantastic series – including jazz and classical performances – keep checking the event pages.

Entry is FREE, no ticket required.

#summerseries


Tom Davis

Tom Davis, pianist and teacher, combines life as a performer with teaching. He has performed at various venues across Bath and the South West and has a keen interest in all musical styles. This has led him from studying Jazz at undergraduate level, to currently studying an MMus in Classical Piano Performance at Bath Spa University. Tom plays with various artists and ensembles, including Frome Swing Band and emerging talent, Ben Vleminckx.


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with Daisy Chapman & The Rosellys

The sun is shining and we’re celebrating with our new Summer Garden Series.  Drop in to our gardens, just a few footsteps from bustling Park Street, any Friday (5pm-9pm) and Saturday (1pm-9pm) throughout August*. Relax and enjoy live music, delicious food, outdoor bars and cocktails shaken by The Rummer Hotel.

Full details to be announced, but for the latest information about this fantastic series – including jazz and classical performances – keep checking the event pages.

Entry is FREE, no ticket required.

#summerseries


3pm: Daisy Chapman

daisychapman.com/listen/

7.30pm: The Rosellys

therosellys.com/media


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with Gravies

The sun is shining and we’re celebrating with our new Summer Garden Series.  Drop in to our gardens, just a few footsteps from bustling Park Street, any Friday (5pm-9pm) and Saturday (1pm-9pm) throughout August*. Relax and enjoy live music, delicious food, outdoor bars and cocktails shaken by The Rummer Hotel.

Full details to be announced, but for the latest information about this fantastic series – including jazz and classical performances – keep checking the event pages.

Entry is FREE, no ticket required.

#summerseries


Gravies

Rosa Gray and Lauren Davies together form the Gravies Jazz Duo. Consisting of keyboard and vocals with the occasional added bonus of flute, they perform together on a regular basis around the Bath and Bristol area. They are both recent BA music graduates of Bath Spa University and play a variety of jazz standards from smooth ballads to cheeky latin numbers.

rljazzduo.wix.com/jazz


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with O’Brien and Wilkins Trio

The sun is shining and we’re celebrating with our new Summer Garden Series.  Drop in to our gardens, just a few footsteps from bustling Park Street, any Friday (5pm-9pm) and Saturday (1pm-9pm) throughout August*. Relax and enjoy live music, delicious food, outdoor bars and cocktails shaken by The Rummer Hotel.

Full details to be announced, but for the latest information about this fantastic series – including jazz and classical performances – keep checking the event pages.

Entry is FREE, no ticket required.

#summerseries


O’Brien and Wilkins Trio

Playing a set which delves into the atmospheric textures of vintage 60′s country music and more modern tastes of jazz and blues styles. Featuring an array of covers and perhaps the original number or two, the trio provide a perfect relaxing musical background to a summers evening.

richobrienmusic.co.ukfacebook.com/RichOBrienMusic / twitter.com/richobrienbass


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