Get The Blessing’s ‘Bristopolis’, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Pee Wee Ellis for Bristol Jazz & Blues Fest

The programme for the sixth edition of the Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival, which runs from 15 to 18 March 2018, has been announced and includes several anniversary-themed concerts. The first of these will see renowned local jazz-rockers Get the Blessing (pictured above left) unveiling their brand new 'Bristopolis' project inspired and utilising archive footage of Bristol drawn from the last 100 years, shot by amateur filmmakers and stored in the city's archives at Create Bristol. The band will be working with John Minton (who already provides visuals for them, as well as for Portishead and Moog Ensemble) and will be writing new music for this special project, which rumours suggest may well become their next album.

Another fascinating addition will be a specially convened band to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's iconic Electric Ladyland album (originally released on 16 October 1968), which will see an all-star Brit jazz band of Laura Jurd, Yazz Ahmed, Winston Rollins, Richard Henry, Iain Ballamy, Thad Kelly, Daisy Palmer and Noel Langley, who line-up under the musical direction of guitarist Denny Ilett, who takes inspiration from the legendary Gil Evan's 1970s reworkings of the Hendrix material.

There's also a guitar-soaked tribute to blues rock legends Cream, under the banner of Cream '68, with axe-slingers Neville Marten, Mick Taylor and Jamie Dickson saluting the iconic trio's final concert at the Albert Hall in 1968. Cult Fiction is another unique concert at the festival, an expansive jazz-meets-classical programme of cult TV and movie themes, conducted by William Goodchild, with comic actor Matt Berry providing links in his own inimitable style.

Further names announced include venerated US saxophonist Lee Konitz with his Quartet; renowned percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie (above centre) with guitarist Ant Law's Trio HLK and an Edition Records double-bill topped by Phronesis keys star Ivo Neame with support from folk-tronica group Snowpoet, with both group's albums released in the spring as part of the label's 10th anniversary year. There are also concerts from top guitar duo Martin Taylor and Ulf Wakenius, Polly Gibbons/James Pearson Quintet; Arun Ghosh; The Big Swing with the Bruce/Ilett Big Band; Asaf Sirkis/ Sylwia Bialas IQ; Enrico Tomasso's High Standards; Cartoon Jazz II featuring Ian Shaw; and jazz-funk sax don Pee Wee Ellis Quartet (above right) featuring Jason Rebello, Alec Dankworth and Julie Saury. The principal concerts will take place at the Colston Hall's main stage, Lantern Theatre and large foyer space, with additional concerts at participating venues the Folk House, Bambalan and The Forge.

– Mike Flynn

Full timings and tickets are available from www.bristoljazzandbluesfest.com

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