Baker and Barber star in celebration of jazz and blues
Stand by to be captivated by some of the world's best musicians.
Bristol's new jazz and blues festival is already staking a claim to be one of the UK's leading musical occasions. It has attracted some of the world's most famous jazz and blues exponents and it boasts three major international names each night.
Opening the show is former Cream drummer Ginger Baker with his powerhouse band, Jazz Confusion, featuring the great funk saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis. US guitarist John Scofield will provide the UK premiere of his new Organic Trio, featuring the accomplished Larry Goldings on Hammond organ and legendary drummer Greg Hutchinson. After performing with Miles Davis' band, with which he toured and recorded from 1982 to 1985, Scofield has led his own groups and recorded more than 30 albums as bandleader. Collaborations with such artists as Pat Metheny, Eddie Harris, jazz trio Medeski Martin and Wood, and Bill Frisell have established him as one of the most adventurous and original musicians in the history of the genre.
Then, fresh from winning his third Grammy recently, and a sell-out week at Ronnie Scott's in London, Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval closes the festival with a stylish swagger.
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A former protégé of Gillespie, Sandoval has recorded more than 40 albums and worked with artists as diverse as Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Tony Bennett, Gloria Estefan, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle and Frank Sinatra. His position as a major representative of both North and Central American music was confirmed by a recent performance at the White House for President Barack Obama.
The 40th anniversary of the premiere of Duke Ellington's final Sacred Concert will be celebrated at the festival with a stunning 180-member choir, the Big Buzzard Boogie Band, led by award-winning pianist Zoe Rahman, singer Yolande Quartey and tap dancer Junior Lanyian. The organisers are also thrilled to welcome the charismatic, joyful blues singer Lillian Boutté, New Orleans' music ambassador. She has already agreed to be a patron of the festival, a sign of what promises to become an exciting relationship between the two maritime cities.
Standby too, to see one of Britain's legends – Chris Barber – returning to Bristol exactly 60 years after his first appearance in the city. The trombonist and band leader has been at the top of his game for 64 years, establishing himself as a prime figure with his single Petite Fleur, which spent 24 weeks in the charts and sold more than 1,000,000 copies. In the late 1950s and early 60s he started organising tours for the likes of Muddy Waters, fuelling a major British R n B influenced rock movement led by none other than the Rolling Stones.
Meanwhile, local talent will not be overlooked.
Bristol musicians with international reputations lead the way, with rock groove outfit Get The Blessing and Andy Sheppard's Trio Libero, featuring Seb Rochford and Michel Benita.
Musician, author and broadcaster Alyn Shipton brings the Buck Clayton Legacy Band. Former Count Basie trumpeter and a collaborator with Billie Holiday, Clayton passed on a book full of original compositions and arrangements to Alyn after he had completed Clayton's biography.
After the trumpeter's death, Alyn felt compelled to celebrate Clayton's life by dusting off the arrangements and forming a band to play them which features UK stalwart Alan Barnes alongside Matthias Seuffert, sax; Menno Daams and Ian Smith, trumpets; Adrian Fry, trombone; Martin Litton, piano; Martin Wheatley, guitar; and Bobby Worth, drums.
The Bateman Brothers Jazz Band pays tribute to Louis Armstrong, with a heartfelt tribute to the great Satchmo focusing on the "All Stars" years from 1947 to his death in 1971.
Funk and blues have a key role in the festival's programme, from universally loved James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, who performs with Claire Teal, to New Orleans' musical ambassador Lillian Boutté. Boutté has appeared alongside performers including Dr John and The Neville Brothers.
Rated alongside Eric Clapton as one of the top ten British blues guitarists of all time, Matt Schofield will perform with his trio. The winner of British Blues awards in 2010 and 2011 for best guitarist and best album has performed with the likes of Robben Ford and Buddy Guy.