Musicians from the jazz, folk, free improvisation and contemporary classical communities will pay tribute to the inimitable pianist, composer, bandleader and musical mentor Keith Tippett in a two-day celebration in his hometown, Bristol on October 1 and 2.
Tippett, who died in June 2020, was an inspirational figure to many, working in duos – notably with his wife, singer Julie Tippetts – and in the free improvising quartet Mujician and leading both large scale projects, such as the fifty-piece Centipede, and the Keith Kippett Sextet that lit a fire under the British jazz scene in the late 1960s. He was also a towering presence in concert and on recordings as a solo performer on piano.
For almost thirty years Tippett was also the touchstone for the Rare Music Club, which staged regular evenings featuring leading folk musicians, contemporary classical music and jazz/improvised music, usually with members of Mujician as the resident band.
The celebration will acknowledge all of these associations. Folk singer-songwriter-guitarist Chris Wood, who was an early participant in the Rare Music Club, returns on a Friday bill at Bristol Beacon that also features violinist Theo May’s Odd Unit, cello and violin duo David Le Page and Phillip Sheppard and Tippett’s long-time Mujician colleague, saxophonist Paul Dunmall’s quartet.
Running from 12 noon to 2:00am, Saturday’s programme at St Georges presents piano/keyboards duo Matthew Bourne and Glen Leach, vocal partnership Julie Tippetts and Maggie Nicols, a revisiting of Tippett’s 2011 work, From Granite to Wind, a special double edition of the band Dreamtime and Paul Dunmall’s Quartet. The celebration will culminate with specially convened seventeen piece orchestra, including many of the musicians who played with Tippett’s large ensembles, playing music from Tippett’s original charts for Centipede and The Dedication Orchestra, which was formed in tribute to exiled South African musicians with whom Tippett formed a special bond.
The organisers are hoping to be able to stream the event for those unable to be in Bristol on the weekend.
Meanwhile, you can listen to Keith Tippett: Mujician IV Live in Piacenza at: