In the first significant UK jazz festival of 2023 Nod Knowles' Bath Jazz Weekend to be held once again at the Widcombe Social Club in the city returns in January. Last year's running was agonisingly aborted at the last minute given Covid uncertainty at the time so these upcoming Capricornian days are all the sweeter picking up the thread again and keeping the faith given what had been planned. Topping the 2023 bill in a very strong free-jazz and improvised music flavoured curation is Dalston, east London, free form vibes legend Orphy Robinson MBE (Jazz Warriors, Courtney Pine classic Journey to the Urge Within, Blue Note rarity The Vibes Describes, Black Top, Malik and the O. G.'s). Orphy plays a Saturday solo set.
Significant too in the programming is the presence of the great free improviser, out of the Leeds scene, pianist Matthew Bourne. The Annette Peacock influenced player's Désinances was a masterpiece last year up there with 2012's career high water mark, Montauk Variations.
Michelson Morley saxophonist Jake McMurchie renowned for his work with maverick Bristolians Get the Blessing is heading to Bath with his quartet. Pianist Robert Mitchell's True Think, pianist Andrew McCormack, the Coltrane and Albert Ayler soaked Paul Dunmall quintet, Westbrookian accordionist Karen Street, violinist Theo May's Odd Unit and Rebecca Nash's Redefining Element 78 are also fine bookings. Pianist-composer Nash's Redefining Element 78 from which 'Osmium' is drawn is released by Michael Janisch's Whirlwind label on Friday.
Jake McMurchie interviewed in 2014
Robert Mitchell interviewed in 2017
Orphy Robinson on Warren Smith Jr, Connie Kay and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, guest blog from 2018
Orphy Robinson photo: Bath Jazz Weekend. Dates are 6-8 January. Festival website