Deep Trouble Trio. The Bristol Fringe.

Jazz trio. Pub with a back room that does live jazz on Wednesday nights up in Clifton Village.

I’ve been a long term follower/friend of Sarah Gail Brand, trombonist & top woman on twitter for years. Deep Trouble Trio are her, Paul and Mark and somehow I’d managed to miss that they were playing in Bristol until Monday. When I did I knew I had to take the chance to meet Sarah and hear her play. Which is how I found myself in this quirky pub in a part of town I don’t usually frequent.

The stage was small, the room not much bigger and when Sarah asked if I was prepared for them “not playing tunes, its free jazz” I had to say no and yes. 40 gigs was always planned as a musical journey, and I’ve been to so many random gigs that not knowing what to expect is a part of it now. After seeing Jay Phelps I’d said I wanted to go to more jazz, to visit a jazz club, so to be there waiting for free form jazz in the back room of a pub was, well, the fulfillment of that ambition.

Paul plays a double bass that looks like a boat, Mark drums & percussion (including something that looked like pram wheels, another shells on a string) and Sarah the trombone.  Which does no justice at all to the sounds they made. It was inventive, creative, unusual and brilliant. Three excellent musicians with what seemed a telepathic connection, playing extraordinary music. I loved it. I want to see them again and I want to listen to more jazz.

I’ve said it before, but it is such a joy to watch skilled musicians play, and when they are improvising every note, well, that’s just a whole other level. The skill, musicianship and craft involved is incredible. Sarah did things with a trombone I had no idea you could! The passion on each of their faces as they played, Paul especially, who was so deep into the moment he barely opened his eyes while playing. There were times I also closed my eyes and let my mind wander, creating visual patterns and musical paintings.

Between sets Mark asked me what I thought, he seemed pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t finding it weird. So I explained about Manu Delago playing the toothbrush, and Daniel Lanois. I’ve been to some strange gigs so far, I said, this isn’t one of them. It was also wonderful to meet Sarah in person, having known her online for such a long time.

40 gigs is changing me, opening me up to new experiences and genres of music I had not explored before. If I can love improvised jazz, perhaps I’m ready for more……..

26 down. 14 to go.


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