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Review: Improv’s Greatest Hits! Supporting Save the Rhubarb

A night of Improvised music from Tara Clerkin and Sunny Joe Paradiso, with additional sets from Sam Haward and Sounding Seas

By Bruno Bridger, Second Year English and Philosophy

A call to arms by Bristol's own Tara Clerkin Trio has vitalised the musical community into embracing a collaborative and improvisational spirit. Reflecting and embracing the need for local arts spaces, the venue was full of smiles and donations for the cause

On Wednesday the 27th of September, Crofter’s Rights presented a special edition of their monthly improv night ‘Improv’s Greatest Hits’ in support of the Save the Rhubarb campaign, a crowdfunded initiative led by two thirds of the Bristol Trip-Hop/ Experimental Jazz outfit the Tara Clerkin Trio, Tara Clerkin and Sunny Joe Paradiso, who are aiming to save the Rhubarb Tavern, a pub in Barton Hill, and bring it back as both ‘a pub and a community hub for Barton Hill & new music and arts venue for Bristol’ as stated on their Crowdfunder. The initiative, which is currently just past the halfway point of its £35,000 goal, seemed to demonstrate its community-minded emphasis on local music and arts in the improvisational showcase on Wednesday.

Proceedings began with a set from Sam Haward, who coalesced ambient pedal loops with traditional banjo in a manner which seemed to blend influences from neo-classical and noise to produce a sound unlike anything associated with the nu-country typically associated with modern banjo adjacent music. The main event, consisting of a 45 minute set from Tara Clerkin on decks , Sunny Joe Paradiso on cello and Vacuum Sealer (of Karl Band) on electric trumpet and electronics embraced the avant-garde, free-music atmosphere of the evening by combining as one-time only trio. The fusion of electronic and classical instrumentation incorporated both glitch-aesthetics as well as ambient acoustics, seemingly communing with elements of both musique concrete and modern IDM, a combination that was both successful as a piece of standalone musical improvisation as well as display of future, possible musical connections to be forged in Bristol’s musical community in light of the possible opening of new community centres such as The Rhubarb.

Donations can be made to Save the Rhubarb here:

Featured Image: Bruno Bridger

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