Bristol Beacon and St George’s Bristol, driven by individuals from his life, are delighted to announce a special weekend of music celebrating the inimitable musician Keith Tippett. Avant garde jazz, contemporary classical, jazz-rock fusion and even pop, Tippett was an utterly unique musical character and one of the most creative figures of the European music scene. An extraordinary improviser, his solo concerts featured both lightning cascades, and the tenderest meditations. Yet he was also an arranger, educator, conductor and a hugely accomplished composer; a skill for which Tippett was regularly commissioned by both jazz and classical artists and organisations alike.

This two-day event explores much of his incredible body of work, from small intimate duos to his penchant for large scale ensembles. It features many of the incredible musicians who were part of his life including – Paul Dunmall & Paul Rogers, Kevin Figes, Julie Tippetts, Theo MayMatthew Bourne – and spans so many of the genres that his talents touched on.

Starting off in Bristol Beacon’s foyer in homage to The Rare Music Club, the lineup features sets by Chris Wood, David Le Page & Philip Sheppard, Theo May and Paul Dunmall; a varied tapestry of talent that captures the diversity of the artists who inhabited the club over its various incarnations.

A packed programme on Saturday takes over St George’s from midday to late night. Starting with a duo double bill of Matthew Bourne & Glen Leach (the Tippett Bourne 2019 tour was to be Keith’s last) plus the vocal duo of Julie Tippetts & Maggie Nicols. The afternoon concert features Granite to Wind Septet with a stellar line up including Ben Waghorn, James Gardiner-Bateman, and Kevin Figes – all of whom played on the 2011 recording. Keith had been busy recruiting this line-up, with him as pianist, for a gig that was to be scheduled to play a benefit for Louis Moholo in Bath on 14 June 2020 – sadly to be the day on which he died. Paired with Dreamtime the concert reflects Keith’s strong international connections, not least with exiled musicians from South Africa.

The closing concert opens with Keith’s long term Mujician collaborators; Paul Dunmall and Paul Rogers, and culminates in an extremely special tribute, The Keith Tippett Celebration Orchestra.

Born in Bristol, and a key figure in the South West’s musical history, this event in Keith’s home city is a dazzling snapshot of a brilliant musician who made such an indelible mark on the international contemporary music scene.




Book Bristol Beacon tickets HERE

Bristol Beacon Foyer

A Celebration of Keith Tippett: The Rare Music Club

On Friday 26 June 1992, in the friendly setting of the Malaap Indian restaurant in Bristol, Keith Tippett presented the first gig in a format which he devised, and, with the help of various enthusiasts, which was to be repeated in several locations at various times for the rest of his life. The Rare Music Club concept was simple: an informal club atmosphere; an egalitarian approach to musicians; and a triple bill evening with three areas of music: traditional/folk, contemporary 20th century classical and jazz/improvised music, usually with members of Mujician as a resident band. The list of musicians who played the RMC is a spectacular who’s who of the musical territory it covered – including, as examples among many more, Eliza Carthy, Stephan Hannigan, Chris Wood, Martin Carthy, Nancy Kerr, Ayub Ogada, Mairi ni Chathasaigh, Dave Swarbrick, Thomas Ades, Mary Wiegold and The Composers Ensemble, Julian Jacobson, the Balanescu String Quartet, Philip Sheppard, David Le Page, Suzanne Stanzeleit; Westbrook Trio, Derek Bailey, Satoko Fujii, Nana Tsiboe, Tobias Delius, Paul Rutherford, Howard Riley, Lol Coxhill, Julie Tippetts, Oren Marshall, Tony Levin, Paul Dunmall and Paul Rogers.

6.30pm – 10.15pm

Theo May’s Odd Unit

Theo May- violin, composer
Gustavo Clayton-Marucci – clarinets
Ali Watson – bass
Reuben Goldmark – piano
Alex Temple-Heald – drums

Theo May’s original music for Odd Unit is a rich weave of jazz, folk and classical music, striking in its energy and originality and difficult to pinpoint to any one genre. As friends of Theo May’s family, Keith and Julie Tippetts recognised Theo’s talent at a very early age and by the time he was 13 years old they had already performed and recorded with him, continuing to collaborate with and support him as he moved to a professional career via studying violin at the Purcell School of Music and composition with Mark-Anthony Turnage at the Royal College of Music.

David Le Page – violin

Philip Sheppard – cello

Chamber music from two multi-talented contemporary musicians, embracing the spirit of the Rare Music Club. Associations with Keith Tippett through Dartington Summer School and the Rare Music Club led the Kreutzer String Quartet to commission him to write Linuckea – new music for piano quintet, which he premiered with the Kreutzer String Quartet in Nottingham in October 1995. Linuckea (the title is an anagram of Keith and Julie’s children’s names) was broadcast by BBC Radio 3 from the 1996 Bath International Music Festival and recorded and released by FMR in 2001. David Le Page and Philip Sheppard, part of the original commissioning quartet, played on the recording and toured with the piano quintet in 2001. ,

Chris Wood – guitar, vocals

Chris Wood is an independent-minded folk musician who marries the songs and themes of the tradition with his own acutely observed and engaging songwriting. Chris Wood was an early choice for the Rare Music Club in Bristol and then the On Tour series, funded by Arts Council England, which took the RMC concept to towns and cities across England. Chris’ debut at the RMC On Tour alongside Mujician was in Tavistock, Devon, in duo with accordionist Andy Cutting.

The Paul Dunmall Quartet (First concert)

Paul Dunmall – saxophones, clarinets, bagpipes
Philip Gibbs – guitar
Paul Rogers – double bass
Tony Orrell – drums

Paul Dunmall and Paul Rogers were both members of the long-standing and highly regarded free

improvising quartet Mujician with the late Tony Levin and Keith Tippett. Recording and touring extensively in the UK and abroad, the group also provided the musical heart for the 13 piece Mujician and the Georgian Ensemble project with Julie Tippetts and musicians from Tbilisi, Georgia, for Keith Tippett’s Tapestry Orchestra, for the New Notes project in UK and South African residencies and collaborations with Zim Ngqwana’s Ngoma and were a permanent presence in Rare Music Club programmes.



St George’s Bristol Main Hall

A Celebration of Keith Tippett


Prices for individual concerts attached to each concert below

Weekender tickets: £65

Saturday tickets: £50

Matthew Bourne & Glen Leach + Julie Tippetts & Maggie Nicols
12 midday – 2.00pm
£15 + bf

Matthew Bourne – piano, keyboards,
Glen Leach – piano, keyboards

A pianistic tribute to the maestro by two path-finding musicians inspired by his remarkable and unique solo improvisations. Matthew Bourne was a long-standing admirer of Keith Tippett’s work – in fact he is quoted as saying that “Keith Tippett is the reason I play piano the way I do”. In 2019 he teamed up with Keith to perform a series of duos, which would prove to be Keith’s last performance project. A recording of that duo project is in the pipeline.

Julie Tippetts – voice
Maggie Nicols – voice

Julie Tippetts has brought her unique, extended vocal techniques to collaborations with a wide range of performers and composers and in her own projects. Her most significant and longstanding collaboration, however, has been with her musical partner, husband and (in her own words) soulmate, Keith, with whom she lived and worked for over half a century. Her contribution, as co-improviser and often as lyricist, to Keith Tippett’s work has always been essential to its character and impact.

Julie and Maggie, close friends since the days of Centipede, were also vocalists in the Tapestry Orchestra. As a duo they recorded the album Sweet and S’Ours and performed many times in duo as well as in trio with “our pianist, Keith.”

From Granite to Wind Septet + Double Dreamtime
4.00pm – 6.00pm
£20 + bf

From Granite to Wind Septet

Jim Blomfield – piano
Tony Orrell – drums
Al Swainger – bass
Ben Waghorn – saxophones
Kevin Figes – saxophones
James Gardiner Bateman – saxophones
Jake McMurchie – saxophones

Along with Ben Waghorn and James Gardiner-Bateman, saxophonist Kevin Figes was part of the original octet which recorded Keith Tippett’s From Granite To Wind in 2011. Revisiting the music for this special event, Kevin has enlisted a line-up of well-known players from in and around Bristol. In his last months’ Keith had been busy recruiting this line-up, with him as pianist, for a gig that was to be scheduled to play a benefit for Louis Moholo in Bath on 14 June 2020 – sadly to be the day on which he died.

Jake McMurchie recalls: “At the beginning of 2020 Keith Tippett called me and asked me to join his band. My debut gig was due to take place on the day he died. Even though I never had the opportunity to play with him in a professional context, just being asked will remain one of my proudest musical accomplishments.”

Double Dreamtime

Gary Curson – saxophones
Paul Dunmall – saxophones
Jim Dvorak – trumpet
Kevin Davy – trumpet
Jim Le Baigue – drums
Mark Sanders – drums
Roberto Bellatalla – bass
Paul Rogers – bass
Alan Tomlinson – trombone
Richard Foote – trombone

Over the years Dreamtime has existed in several different forms. For this special tribute to their erstwhile pianist, Keith, this eleven-piece line up of Dreamtimers past and present. Their music contains worldwide influences, and the focus is always toward the joyous.

The membership of Dreamtime is part of a huge network of musical inter-relationships, with Keith Tippett himself and especially with the bands which he was part of, associated with the long South African exile, such as the Brotherhood of Breath, Louis Moholo’s Viva la Black and the Dedication Orchestra.


The Paul Dunmall Quartet + The Keith Tippett Celebration Orchestra
8.00pm – 10.30pm
£25 + bf 

The Paul Dunmall Quartet (2nd concert – new lineup)

Paul Dunmall – saxophones, clarinets, bagpipes
Paul Rogers – double bass
Liam Noble – piano
Mark Sanders drums

Although there can be no way of the Pauls Dunmall and Rogers replicating the three decades of unique improvisation they shared with the late lamented Tony Levin and Keith Tippett in Mujician, this quartet brings them the opportunity to explore two other close musical relationships in the same spirit of freedom, empathy and mutual understanding. ,

The Keith Tippett Celebration Orchestra

Gethin Liddington – trumpet
Pete Judge – trumpet
Andy Hague – trumpet
Jim Dvorak – trumpet
Kevin Figes – saxophone
Ben Waghorn – saxophone
Jake McMurchie – saxophone
James Gardiner-Bateman – saxophone
Alan Tomlinson – trombone
Richard Foot – trombone
Gareth Roberts – trombone
Oren Marshall – tuba
Jim Blomfield- piano
Riaan Voslo – double bass
Tony Orrell – drums
Miles Levin – drums

As a fitting finale to the tributes to Keith Tippett and a celebration of his life and work, Kevin Figes has assembled this unique big band, a format that Keith loved and for which he composed some of his most memorable and anthemic works. The Celebration Orchestra brings together many of the musicians who played with Keith in large ensembles and will feature music from his original charts (including Centipede’s Septober Energy) as well as some of his arrangements for The Dedication Orchestra.

Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd October 2021
Various times (see booking buttons)

A Celebration of Keith Tippett

From £15

A 5% booking fee applies online and over the phone. A £2 postage fee is charged where applicable.

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