August was once the time of year when jazz went on holiday along with everyone else, but these days, while the big names are more likely to be found playing festivals all over Europe, there is still a lively local scene in the pubs and clubs around the Midlands for those who have chosen to stay at home.
Here’s a quick guide to how you can fill most nights this week:
Tomorrow there is Chris Aldridge & Beebe at the Mint Hotel as part of the regular Rush Hour Blues August walkabout (www.birminghamjazz.co.uk) followed by a meal and music from Sam Wooster at the Bohemia restaurant in Selly Oak (www.eatbohemia.co.uk).
On Sunday, spend the afternoon with either Four On The Floor at the Old Joint Stock (www.oldjointstocktheatre.co.uk), West Midlands Jazzmen at the Botanical Gardens (www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk), or the Creative Composers Ensemble at the mac (www.cobwebcollective.com). And in the evening head for Stratford-upon-Avon and the Interplay Quintet (www.stratfordjazz.org.uk).
On Monday take a well-earned rest.
On Tuesday head to the Spotted Dog in Digbeth where the Aaron Diaz Quartet are in the house (www.cobwebcollective.com)
Finally, on Wednesday, down at Sutton Coldfield Football Club the Chicago Teddy Bears are squeezing their own tummies to bring you the right sounds (www.suttoncoldfieldtradjazzclub.btck.co.uk)
Now is also the time to bag something to look forward to when the nights start to draw in and the summer is a credit card bill and a bunch of photos. Birmingham Jazz has two superb gigs lined up for the autumn and you can book for them now.
On 22 October, the new Anglo-Norwegian trio Meadow is playing the CBSO Centre. Meadow comprises pianist John Taylor, percussionist Thomas Stronen and saxophonist Tore Brunborg.
All have established strong careers of their own – Taylor with his own bands and as a member of Azimuth, Stronen with another Anglo–Norwegian band, Food, and Bromberg as a sideman for countless bands, including Trod Gustafson’s and Mathias Erick’s – but the combination of the three is quite magical.
They will be supported by the British duo of pianist Andrew McCormack and saxophonist Jason Yarded, making this a real feast of a concert.
On 12 November, also at the CBSO Centre, is the Steve Swallow Quintet.
Swallow is of course the master electric bassist. His band comprises Chris Cheek on tenor saxophone, Steve Cardenas on guitar and Jorge Rosy on drums, but the real wow-factor here is the inclusion of Swallow’s partner, the pianist and composer Carla Bley, in the band.
To get to hear Bley, Swallow and these other great players up close and intimate in the CBSO Centre is a real chance of a lifetime.
You can book now for both these concerts, on www.birminghamjazz.co.uk or by calling 0121 780 3333.