Behind the music…with Dave Bristow

This week, we caught up with Dave Bristow, a man who is tipped to become one of the most original and talented jazz musicians in Europe.

Originally from Birmingham and now based in Paris, he is the leader of the Dave Bristow Quintet – a multinational supergroup – for which he writes all the compositions.

Ahead of the quintet performing at The Stoller Hall on Saturday 4 March, we got to know more about Dave and what he has in store for the audience in nearly two weeks’ time…

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, and the fantastic musicians that you’ll be performing with?

Sure! I’m Dave Bristow, a jazz pianist and composer based in Paris and the leader of my own group the Dave Bristow Quintet. We released our first record ‘Unknown Unknown’ in February 2022, which features twelve of my own compositions and what I consider to be some of best improvisers on the French jazz scene. It was released under the French label Disques JMS. We’ve been playing shows mainly France and Belgium, but we also did a tour of Germany, Scotland and England in October of last year.

Performing alongside Dave in this concert will be Christian Altehülshorst on trumpet (Rêve d’Éléphant Orchestra), Guillaume Prévost on drums (Nicolas Gardel, Thibaud Dufoy), Mike Green on double bass (Jamie Cullum, Dame Shirley Bassey) and saxophonist Chris Bowden.

Needless to say, I’m really excited to be sharing the stage with these superb musicians.

Dave Bristow also tells us about his special connection to Manchester. Although originally studying classical music at the University of Manchester between 2008 – 2011, Dave would spend most of his nights playing in jazz jam sessions around the city…

I guess you could say it’s the city where ‘I planted my first seeds’ as an improviser. I was starting to get serious about the language of jazz and how to play it at that time – studying it whenever I could. I had my first formative playing experiences as a jazz musician in Manchester, so it’s good to be returning here on my own terms, playing my own music.

Which musical heroes inspired you to get into jazz? 

There were a few records that were kind of earth-shattering to me: John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’, Oscar Peterson’s ‘A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra’, Bill Evans’ ‘Further Conversations with Myself’, Chick Corea’s ‘Now He Sings, Now He Sobs’ and most of all Donald Byrd’s record ‘Out of this World’ in quintet with a very young Herbie Hancock.

That music is super important to me – I’ve been trying to amass as many rare Herbie CDs as I can find. Lately I’m enjoying the music of Kurt Rosenwinkel, Simon Moullier, David Binney, Charlie Parker, John Scofield and Johannes Brahms.

The pieces you’ll be playing are mainly original compositions. What kind of styles will the audience be hearing on the night?

There’s a little of everything – samba, Latin-American influences, fast and medium tempo post-bop, Frank Zappa- tinged rhythm changes, pensive ballads, New Orleans-infused blues. Strong melodies, lots of energy!

If you could describe how you’d like the audience to feel during the concert in three words, what would those three words be?

Hope you enjoy! 😉

The Dave Bristow Quintet will be performing at The Stoller Hall on Saturday 4 March 2023.

Dave Bristow Quintet

‘Behind the Music…’ is our episodic blog series.

Publishing since the return of live music in 2021, the series offers a closer look at some of the world’s most incredible musicians across the genres ahead of their performances at The Stoller Hall.



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