Free Stage 2019

This year we are pleased to continue our free stage music in the Balloon Bar (Anson Rooms, University of Bristol Students’ Union, 105 Queens Rd, Clifton Bristol, United Kingdom BS8 1LN). This programme accompanies our ticketed programme here.

Did you know we are a charity?

If you regularly attend our free stage and would like to make a donation we would appreciate your support. Thank you!

Friday 22 March

6.30-7.15PM Kevin Figes quartet
Figes’ Quartet play his own distinctive compositions and have performed all over the UK for many years. Their five recordings have received excellent reviews, and today’s performance features brand new material to be recorded very soon.

“Figes is the real deal” Jazzwise

7.45-8.30PM Simon & Tom Gardner sextet
Trumpet playing father and son Simon and Tom Gardner play the music of the brothers Pete and Conte Candoli. Both legends in their field, Pete was a ‘first call’ lead trumpeter and Conte, a jazz specialist.
Here, in collaboration with the arranging skills of Denny Ilett, they pay tribute to them, breathing new life into their music.

9.00-9.45PM The Bristol Sessions feat: Ruth Royall
Featuring star turns by some of Bristol ’s top musicians and singers, this soul collective has sent shockwaves across the city’s live music scene. Sessions founder and host Ruth Royall will be performing with the house band at this years Jazz Festival. Expect a night of irresistible live beats and phenomenal vocal talent from the Bristol Sessions House Band.

Saturday 23 March

12-12.45 Bristol University Jazz Orchestra
BUJO are a lively big band with a wide ranging repertoire of jazz, latin and funk. Playing arrangements by the likes of Buddy Rich, John Coltrane and others alongside their own interpretations of classic and new tunes, the BUJO are not to be missed!

1.15-2PM Jim Blomfield trio
Jim Blomfield (piano/keyboards), Roshan Wijetunge (bass) and Mark Whitlam (drums) are three individual voices whose previous collaborations read like a who’s-who of the UK jazz scene. Performing a diverse set of original intricate compositions, the group develop the classic piano trio format with the addition of electronica elements. They have just released their second album, ‘Strange Beauty – Every Way OK.’

2.30-3.15PM Red Roots Jazz
Female-centred Jazz Project, comprising of vocals (Belle Rose Barnett), piano (Ana Gomez), double bass (Caitlin Alais Callahan), drums (Emma Holbrook), and guest starring Ella Polczyk on saxophone and clarinet. Performing their favourite standards with modern twists and vocal harmonies.

Red Roots Jazz are also running a masterclass on Sunday 24 March.

3.45-4.30PM Phantom Ensemble
Phantom Ensemble is a new forward thinking project fusing instrumental breakbeat with chilled jazz flows. Featuring Bristol producer Toby Simiah, sax hero Craig Crofton and harmonic master Dan Somers, 2018 has seen this super cool collab signing their first record deal with Kingunderground records. Added to their ranks are Harriet Riley on vibraphone/percussion and Chalky White on guitar.

5.00-5.45PM Andy Nowak trio
Drawing on influences ranging from the hard swinging Oscar Peterson trio through the pseudo classical inventions of Brad Mehldau to the atmospheric ideas of E.S.T., the trio play original compositions and interpretations of standards with effervescence and flair. With an emphasis on joy and risk taking, the trio weave a compelling tapestry of soundscapes and lyricism at once fresh and familiar.

6.15-7PM Narco Lounge Combo
Bristol’s most handsome band, Narco Lounge Combo construct a Lynchian soundscape of noirish jazz, uneasy listening and space-age exotica. Brushed drums, tremolo guitars and voodoo marimbas create spiked cocktails in a nightclub where it is forever after hours!

7.30-8.15PM Biophosmos
Bassist and composer Al Swainger leads this experimental quartet. Mix Chick Corea with Radiohead, then use the resulting cocktail to write film music, and you might get something a little like this…a melodic soundscape of latin, fusion & ambience guaranteed to surprise and delight.

8.45-9.30PM Pedalmania
Hammond organ specialist John Paul Gard leads this swinging trio laced with jazz, blues and gospel influences. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Hammond players in the country, Gard carries the torch passed to him from the likes of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes.

Sunday 24 March

12-12.45PM Wells Cathedral School Jazz Combo
A select group of students from the world-class jazz programme at Wells Cathedral School make up this exciting group. Wells Cathedral School is a specialist music school providing comprehensive jazz and improvisation training for up-and-coming young musicians with students in this band about to take up places at London music colleges.

1.15-2.00PM The Bristol Hornstars
The cream of up-coming stars from Bristol University return after last years stunning performance that left the audience, including many professional jazz musicians, spellbound! This 17-piece big band play a wide range of jazz, funk and soul arrangements at clubs and private events throughout the region.

2.30-3.15PM The Old Malt House Jazz Band
The Old Malt House Jazz Band are a Bristol based traditional jazz band. A multi generational collective of musicians who play a mix of 20s and 30s jazz classics and lesser known gems from such pioneers as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Joe ‘King’ Oliver.

3.45-4.30PM Jonny Bruce Band
Jonny Bruce’s exuberant and versatile playing has become an essential feature of Bristol’s music scene, bringing excitement to bands of every style. Many will have seen him at the festival in previous years playing the part of Harry James in the Bruce/Ilett Big Band or as featured soloist with Moscow Drug Club

5-5.45PM Victoria Klewin quartet
Victoria Klewin celebrates the life and work of the late jazz/cabaret pianist and singer, Blossom Dearie. Brought together by a mutual love of this often forgotten jazz star, a glowing lineup revives her unusual songbook. A show full of wit, humour and skilful arrangements.

6.15-7PM Gary Alesbrook quartet
Judging by his resume, trumpet player Gary Alesbrook likes to mix things up. He’s played on live shows and studio sessions for Kasabian, Noel Gallagher, Scissor Sisters, RagNBone Man, Raphael Saadiq and Kelis. For this performance, he will be playing music from both of his critically acclaimed jazz albums.

7.30-8.15PM Riaan Vosloo – UpHill Game
Sounds like hard work, doesn’t it, but it really isn’t: think totally classy contemporary jazz from an all-star line-up and you’re there. Led by top bass player Riaan Vosloo this quartet features Jake McMurchie on Sax, Pete Judge on Trumpet and Matt Brown on drums. So the game is; half of Get The Blessing, half of Dakhla Brass and a dash of Nostalgia 77.

8.45 to 9.30PM The Hucklebuck
The Hucklebuck are a 7-piece swinging jump/blues band playing their own original compositions and interpretations of classic electric blues standards. They evolved out of a desire to hear blues played the way they want to hear it – swinging, dynamic, melodic and full of bold statements!

Sunday 24 at Colston Hall

Platform South by Jazz South –  12am – 6pm (time slots TBC)

  • We are Leif
  • Fourth Page
  • Hexagonal
  • Iain Ballamy Quartet
  • The Granite Band
  • Sara Colman Band