Bristol has a long history of Jazz musicians and clubs. Each year there is a Jazz Festival in King Street between the Old Duke and The Llandogger Trow pubs. The Old Duke is a firm favourite with `trad’ jazz lovers and regularly hosts `trad’ gigs. Acker Bilk performs here regularly. Two of Britain’s most famous Jazz musicians also come from Bristol. Andy Sheppard lived in Bristol and first started playing with a quartet called Sphere. He then played with many other groups including Klaunstance, who played regularly at Bedminster's Albert Inn. He moved to Paris for three years, returning to the UK mid 1980s and became one of the rising saxophone stars. He has released records on Blue Note, Island's Antilles and recently the independent label Provocateur Records.
Keith Tippett is one of Britain’s best Jazz pianists/composers. His long history includes work with Robert Fripp and King Crimson and a huge variety of Jazz musicians. He started the `Rare music Club' in Bristol where he brought together musicians from the jazz, classical, global and folk contexts to play, perform and improvise together. It ran successfully until 1995 when it closed down. It is now back and running a series of events at a variety of Bristol venues. One of those is the beautiful St George's church just off Park Street in central Bristol. The Church hosts a variety of concerts from Radio 3 classical sessions to more contemporary music from the likes of the Brodsky Quartet, Bjork, Dead CanDance and of course Keith Tippett himself.
`The Bear' pub in Hotwell's is another location on the jazz map of Bristol it has hosted many be-bop, modern, avant-garde and improvised sessions and provided slots for all of Bristol's Jazz community. It hosts the Be-bop club which receives grants from South West Arts and the Musicians Union. Another figure on Bristol's jazz scene who is particularly illustrative of the many links and cross fertilisation that occurs in Bristol between various elements of the music community is Andy Hague. He is known as a jazz trumpeter, drummer and composer, he has backed many of the UK's leading jazz figures including Andy Sheppard, Don Weller and Peter King. He is now gaining recognition as a composer and has released two CDs of his own material. He has also played on both Portishead LPs and performed live with them.
Portishead’sAdrian Utley also started his musical life playing in many of the local jazz bands and jams and is seen by some as one of the great jazz guitarists. Some of the first Roni Size singles and his early DJ sets are heavily influenced by jazz (See discography). The Jazz stage at Glastonbury, where Roni Size did some of his early DJ sets in the back stage bar, is always heavily populated by individuals from Bristol’s music scene and the Jazz influence always in evidence. It is run and programmed by Bristol promoters and crewed by Bristol crews. From the Pop Group through to Reprazent there is a tangible jazz presence in the music of the city.