The whole history of jazz in just three days
What is jazz? Get any two fans together and you'll soon have three answers to that question, but whatever your personal take on the music there's something for you among the 40 acts appearing at this year's inaugural Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival.
The three-day event takes over the Colston Hall with prestigious national and international acts appearing in both the main hall and Hall 2, plus the cream of local talent appearing on a free stage in the foyer, and late night jam sessions in the Top Bar rounding off each day's entertainment.
The whole history of jazz is represented, too, from the classic trad of the Big Chris Barber Band (Friday, 6.30pm) to the cutting edge contemporary music of Trio Libero (Sunday, 2.15pm), local hero Andy Sheppard's latest international project and US jazz guitar icon John Scofield's Organic Trio (Saturday, 9pm). In between, historically speaking, there's the Bateman Brothers' tribute to the great Louis Armstrong's All Star bands (Sunday, 12.45pm) and BBC broadcaster and renowned jazz authority Alyn Shipton brings the Buck Clayton Legacy Band (Saturday, 12.45pm) in celebration of the trumpet genius from Count Basie's band.
The jazz trumpet is almost a theme of the festival, in fact, with top local players Andy Hague (Sunday, 7pm) and Nick Malcolm (Saturday, 8pm) bringing their highly rated quartet and quintet respectively, and Andrew Colman's Brass Junkies (Sunday, 6pm) representing the Bristol scene. And no doubt all three of those players will be over the moon to be mentioned on the same bill as Sunday's headliner Arturo Sandoval (9pm). He rose to fame in his native Cuba in the Sixties but a meeting with his hero Dizzy Gillespie in the Seventies led to him joining the great man's band and, eventually, defecting to the USA, where his dazzling virtuosity and soaring tone have kept him as a leading light in Afro-Cuban jazz ever since.
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Fans of jazz guitar are in for a busy weekend, too, and not just because of John Scofield. After the former Charlie Mingus sideman appeared on Miles Davis' 1983 album Star People he became a star of Blue Note records known for combining innovation and traditionalism, and his Organic Trio is a straightahead affair showcasing his gift for lyrical melody.
There'll be more modern six-string action when Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley joins award-winning modernists Get The Blessing (Saturday, 3.45pm), while a Sunday "double bill" of axe-wielding bluesmeisters Innes Sibun (2.30pm) and Matt Schofield (3.45) should remind us of one of the most important roots of all jazz.
Finally, respect is most definitely due to the Festival's two patrons: Lillian Boutte (Saturday, 6.45pm) – the dynamite-voiced Musical Ambassador for New Orleans, brings the rich mix of soul, funk and jazz that made that city the legend that it is – while godfather of the funk saxophone Pee Wee Ellis makes two spectacular appearances with a special outing of the Pee Wee Ellis Assembly (Sunday, 6.45pm), featuring golden-toned singer Clare Teal, following on from his part in Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion, a percussion-heavy groove-machine featuring the wildly brilliant polyrhythms of the former Cream drummer.