Down in London they are in the throes of London Fashion Week. While certain players and styles of jazz may go in and out of fashion, mostly we’re not that fickle. And there are some things that never go out of fashion – they are always there, the staple and constant of the scene, despite how difficult they may be to maintain: big bands.
And even more special than big bands are youth big bands, opportunities to foster burgeoning talent and ensure the music has a future.
Keeping the flame in these parts is the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra, run with enduring tenacity and against all the odds by John and Nichola Ruddick.
The great American trumpeter Bobby Shew has said of MYJO: “One of the finest youth bands I’ve ever performed with… in the world.”
The band gigs regularly around the region and beyond (sometimes as far beyond as across the Atlantic), but one of their annual engagements is as part of the Solihull Festival. And this year that gig is this Thursday.
MYJO with special guest singer Tony Jacobs (ex Syd Lawrence Orchestra) are at the Solihull Arts Complex, it starts at 8pm, and tickets are £13 (concessions £12 from 0121 704 6962 or on the door.
If you have heard MYJO before you’ll know the exceptional standard of the band; if you’ve never heard them before you’ll be amazed at the high quality of the music and the excitement and energy these under-25s generate on evergreen big band jazz tunes.
Find out more about MYJO at myjo.co.uk
Down at the White Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday is a very lively band from the North West, the Magic Hat Ensemble: Steve Chadwick on cornet, Tony Ormesher on guitar, Andrzej Baranek on piano, Nick Blacka on bass and Rob Turner on drums.
They’ve been to the White Swan once before and raised such merry hell of the swinging kind that they’ve been asked back. Tickets are £8 on the door and you can find out more at stratfordjazz.org.uk
The thing I like about Stratford Jazz is that they maintain the grand old tradition of the raffle – excellent!
Although she does different things these days, the fact that earlier in her career singer and songwriter Gwyneth Herbert was marketed as a jazz vocalist means she always gets a mention in jazz columns and magazines, so why should we make an exception?
Gwyneth has a fine new album, All The Ghosts, out now on the Naim Edge label and will be singing songs from it in the Glee Club Studio in Birmingham on Friday.
Doors open at 7.30pm, there is no entry after 8.15pm, tickets are £10 on the door but £9 online at glee.co.uk