We all know that jazz in the 21st century covers a wide area indeed, and the gigs around the Midlands this week offer a fine example of that variety.
We start this evening with the music of a man who was born in the late 1920s, played by a big band of musicians who were born the late 1980s or even more recently than that.
Bill Holman was a composer and saxophonist but is best known as an arranger. He wrote charts for everyone from Woody Herman to Gerry Mulligan, and this tonight it’s the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra doing the business.
Check them out at the Adrian Boult Hall at 6pm, tickets £5.50 on the door.
Tomorrow we have strong composition and band-leading from an impeccably educated young musician, followed by a funky twist to the big band repertoire.
Saxophonist Trish Clowes has trained at the Royal Academy of Music, studied saxophone with Iain Ballamy and composition with Hans Koller, and now leads a band that includes Calum Gourlay on bass and James Maddren on drums, along with sometime writing partner and guitarist Chris Montague, and pianist Huw White.
The inclusion of cellist Heidi Parsons as the final member of Tangent shows Trish’s wider jazz interests, and her debut album, on Basho Records, also includes a guest appearance by Gwilym Simcock and a small orchestra. Trish Clowes’ Tangent plays Rush Hour Blues at Symphony Hall foyer from 5.30pm, and it’s free.
Sweden would not be the obvious place to look for funk inclinations, but trombonist and singer Nils Landgren has made it an integral part of his jazz music, and he brings his Funk Unit and some big band charts to the Town Hall tomorrow. If you want to hear the BBC Big Band “get down” with Nils, be there for 7.30pm. Tickets are from £12.50 from thsh.co.uk or on 0121 780 3333.
On Saturday there is a chance to hear one of the most exciting young trumpeters from the US. Christian Scott is creating quite a stir with his rich mix of New Orleans-flavoured jazz trumpet playing and truly eclectic influences, whether it’s Bob Dylan’s protest folk or Jackie Wilson’s R&B, Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic rock or Art Blakey’s hard bop.
His album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow is a real flag-flyer, both of social activism and great music. He writes his own material, but he also chooses fresh covers – like Thom Yorke’s Eraser, for example. I suspect this just might be a contender for gig of the year, so don’t miss it.
Christian Scott is playing the Royal Festival Hall at the London Jazz Festival but you can see him in the intimacy of the Hare & Hounds, in Kings Heath. Tickets are £13, doors open at 9pm, and you can book at ticketsellers, on 0844 870 0000, or at Polar Bear record shop in Kings Heath.
This is a Birmingham Jazz gig so find out more at birminghamjazz.co.uk
Other good gigs this week:
Sunday: Stratford Jazz presents legendary alto saxophonist Peter King and his band. The gig is at The Chapel, it starts at 8pm, tickets are £10 and you can find out more at stratfordjazz.org.uk
Monday: Milestones is a band led by pianist Terry Seabrook and dedicated to the music of Miles Davis. The band, which includes Alan Barnes on alto and Graeme Flowers on trumpet, will be playing all of the Kind Of Blue album plus other famous Davis tunes at the Warwick Arts Centre Studio from 7.45pm. Tickets are £12.50 from warwickartscentre.co.uk and this is a Jazz Coventry gig.
Wednesday: More Miles inspiration, this time his electric music, as Jazz Club presents Dog Soup at The Rainbow in Digbeth. The band has Tim Giles on drums and Hans Koller on keyboards. It starts at 9pm, tickets are £4 on the door and you can find out more at birminghamjazz.co.uk