The Be-Bop Club

The Bear, Hotwell Road, Bristol. BS8 4SF

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What’s On

Doors open 8.30pm for 9pm start.

Fri 26th Jan

Ray D’Inverno CD Launch


Pianist Ray D’Inverno is based near Dorchester, but for many years ran Southampton Jazz Club alongside his career as a Professor of Mathematics and General Relativity at Southampton University. Ray has performed alongside many of the UK’s greatest players, and has been leading his current band Quintessential Groove for around seven years. Tonight sees the release of the group’s new CD All In The Same Boat, which features eleven of Ray’s melodic but rhythmically varied compositions. The band consists of highly rated Canadian saxophonist Terry Quinney [Sound of BlueNote], Andy Hague - trumpet, Ray DInverno - piano, Ben Taylor - bass and Toby Perrett - drums [subbing for Andy Chapman who plays on the CD].

Fri 2nd Feb

Radio Banska


A Bath-based instrumental quintet delivering a jazz infused blend of Levantine mystery, Balkan passion and Latin rhythms expressed in exciting original compositions with a world music flavour. Radio Banska was founded in 2010 by Bath violinist Nina Trott and guitarist Dave Spencer, and has worked tirelessly across the southwest ever since. Following Nina’s sad passing in early 2017, the band has been rebooted with dynamic Bristol session man Craig Crofton out front on saxophone, the addition of world-music guitarist Phil Dawson, and Jon Clark on drums. “.. sounds from around the world - and also an adept contemporary jazz combo with unique material and a command of rhythms that go further than the average 'ethnic' outfit. Fine and distinctive players, too.” Craig Crofton - sax, Dave Spencer - guitar, Phil Dawson - guitar, Sol Ahmed - bass and Jon Clark - drums.

Fri 9th Feb

Ben Waghorn Quartet


Saxophonist and flautist Ben Waghorn is one of Bristol’s finest and most versatile musicians. January this year saw him off to Singapore to perform with 007 In Concert alongside some of London’s top session musicians. But now it’s back to the local jazz scene where the big money is. Ben is so busy that he rarely has time to lead his own groups, but when he does it’s always a treat since he has written some really engaging original tunes which he combines with a few burning standards. Joining Ben are piano maestro Jim Blomfield, bassist Thad Kelly [best known for his work with jazz supergroup Partisans], and drummer Andy Hague.

Fri 23rd Feb

John Donegan Quintet


Originally from Cork in Ireland, John Donegan lived in Bristol in the 90s and was one of the most highly regarded pianists in the area with his hard-swinging style influenced by players such as Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans. Now based in London John plays regularly at St Martin In The Fields alongside players such as trumpeter Steve Fishwick and saxophonist Tommaso Starace. Performing a mixture of original compositions and standards tonight’s band is John Donegan - piano, Andy Hague - trumpet, Ben Waghorn - tenor sax, Greg Cordez - bass and Simon Gore - drums.

Fri 2nd March

John Law’s Congregation


John Law has been described as “one of the UK’s most imaginative and versatile jazz pianists.” - International Piano 2014. In 2016 John toured to promote his CD These Skies In Which We Rust, and turned in one of the club’s most memorable performances of the year. However, he never stays still for long and put together his new Congregation line-up collaborating with Leeds based saxophonist, guitarist and electronics whizz James Mainwaring of Roller Trio. Roller Trio’s first CD release in 2012 was nominated for both the Mercury Prize and MOBO’s Best Jazz Act, which they followed up with their second acclaimed album Fracture in 2015. On bass is Ashley John Long, a virtuosic player known for his work in both jazz and classical idioms who first came to prominence through his work with Keith Tippett. Drummer Billy Weir is a graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire and winner of the 2014 Tony Levin Drum Prize. The band will recently have returned from their Feb 2018 India Tour, so should be on especially good form.

Fri 16th Feb

Denny Ilett & Dave Newton Quartet


Guitarist Denny Ilett has assembled a genuinely all-star line-up for us tonight. Denny is of course well-known as organiser of Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival, and is one of the few players around able to play convincingly in almost any style. He can be found performing in groups ranging from Gypsy Jazz through to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin tributes, and along the way has worked extensively with New Orleans vocalist Lillian Boutté and king of funk Pee Wee Ellis. Internationally acclaimed pianist Dave Newton has been voted Best Pianist in the British Jazz Awards no less than ten times, and has long associations with some of the UK’s top instrumentalists such as Don Weller and Alan Barnes. His exquisite touch has made him accompanist of choice for vocalists such as Claire Martin and Stacey Kent. Eclectic jazz bass player Riaan Vosloo recently moved from London to Bristol with an impressive reputation established from his long-term membership of Tru Thoughts stalwarts Nostalgia 77 and involvement with Tongue Fu, the super-cool jazz-meets-poetry club night. On drums we have Ian Matthews, best know for playing with stadium rock band Kasabian, despite which he is an excellent jazz drummer who can still play with a lovely light touch. Denny Ilett - guitar, Dave Newton - piano, Riaan Vosloo - bass and Ian Matthews - drums.

Fri 9th March

Len Aruliah Quintet


Born in the UK, Len Aruliah grew up in Vancouver, Canada, where he graduated from the University of British Columbia School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in classical saxophone. In 1993 he attended the Banff Centre for the Arts Jazz Workshop, where he studied with faculty members Hugh Fraser, Kenny Wheeler, Pat LaBarbera, and Don Thompson. Currently Len splits his time between London and Canada. A versatile musician he’s toured with Gene Pitney, played in West End theatre productions, world music groups and with the riotous Hackney Colliery Brass Band. In 2017 he released his CD No Complications with his Canadian band, and he has also performed at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Now spending more time in Bristol he has formed his first group here sharing the frontline with another recent arrival in the city, trombonist Magnus Dearness. Magnus also played with Hackney Colliery Band and with saxophonist/composer Cath Roberts, and you may have heard him locally with the Dockside Latin Orchestra [who will be headlining Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival]. Combined with the strong rhythm section of Tom Berge - piano, Pasquale Votino - bass and Paolo Adamo - drums, this should be a great band.

Fri 16th March

Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival

No gig at The Bear tonight, get along to Colston Hall for all the action.

Fri 23rd March

Aidan Thorne’s Duski


Duski is led by bassist Aidan Thorne, one of the finest players across the bridge in South Wales and probably best known for his work with Slowly Rolling Camera alongside Bristol’s Ben Waghorn. Guitarist Dan Messore divides his time between London and Cardiff, and has recorded alongside Iain Ballamy and Steve Waterman. Bristol audiences may know him through his work with Jake McMurchie’s Michelson Morley project. Saxophonist Greg Sterland is a graduate of the Royal Welsh College, but is now based in Bristol and played a great quartet gig for us in January. The other band members are some  of the most forward thinking musicians in South Wales namely pianist Paul Jones (Sweet Baboo/Zervas and Pepper) and drummer Mark O’Connor (Khamira/Burum). Aidan Thorne - bass, Greg Sterland - sax, Dan Messore - guitar, Paul Jones - piano and Mark O’Connor - drums. For more information check out their Facebook page

Coming Soon:

30th March - Sur Ecoute

13th April - Glen Manby

27th April - Nick Malcolm

4th May - George Crowley

11th May - Andy Nowak

25th May - Loz Speyer’s Inner Space

1st June - Ben Thomas & Lee Goodall

8th June - Andy Hague Quintet