The week ahead in Midland gigs

Arun Ghosh - Mid-day Mantra on Saturday

This is a week when there are no real jazz peaks in terms of high profile gigs or big names, but nevertheless a lot happening in the foothills.

Tonight you have three choices.

Out at Andy Hamilton’s Bearwood Corks Club you get the musical equivalent of the mobile health clinic, although on offer on this occasion is a harp-driven cure for the blues. The medics in the house are Dr Harp’s Medicine Band.

“It does not make bad listening,” is not the most overwhelmingly enthusiastic recommendation but it’s probably as non-committal as we’re likely to get from Health Services Journal.

The waiting room opens at 8.30pm at the club in Bearwood Road, the doctor will start seeing patients at 9pm, and there’s a flat charge of £4 whether you are NHS or private. More at

In the city centre, drummer Miles Levin leads his band at the Yardbird, in Paradise Place. The music starts after 8pm and entry is free.

Chris Bowden was at the Yardbird last Thursday, but tonight he is at Earlsdon Cottage in Coventry. It’s a fine venue and Chris expands the band to a quartet with pianist Steve Tromans joining Neil Bullock on drums, Ben Markland on bass and the master himself on alto saxophone.

This Jazz Coventry gig starts at 8.30pm and entry is £10 with concessions for students. more at

There’s a Bach shindig going on for the next few days in Symphony and Town Halls, and the jazz element is a performance at the free-entry Rush Hour Blues tomorrow early evening by the David Rees-Williams Trio. The pianist, like Jacques Lousier before him, has made adding a bit of jazz swing to classical music something of a speciality, and his biggest hit remains his trio’s interpretation of Purcell’s When I Am Laid In Earth.

This time, though, the raw material comes from Johann Sebastian, and the trio will be starting a bit earlier than usual, 5.15pm, in the SH foyer bar, in order to be finished before a big concert in the main hall. Yep, you guessed it – it’s Bach.

If you don’t want a full evening of Bach, head over to The Drum’s Pit and Cafe Bar where there is a Cobweb Collective session by the Matt Ratcliffe Trio. Matt Ratcliffe is on piano, Nick Jurd on bass and Tymoteusz Jozwiak on drums. They wind up the energy levels a treat without ever losing a cool groove.

It starts at 7.30pm and entry is £5. More at

Clarinettist Arun Ghosh can be heard in a more traditional Indian musical setting with just tablas for accompaniment, as he plays a Mid-day Mantra at the Symphony Hall foyer bar. In fact it starts an hour after midday, but it’s free so we won’t quibble.

On Saturday evening the JJ Wheeler Quintet’s tour arrives at the Hive in Shrewsbury. Drummer JJ writes the band’s material and, apart from a new tenor player, the personnel has been pretty consistent, guaranteeing a tight performance.

The gig starts at 8pm, tickets are £10 and are available from 01743 234970 or on the door. More at

Stuart McCallum

Stuart McCallum is a very interesting guitarist mixing jazz in with other contemporary styles. He has a recent album out, called Distilled, and is playing a Livebox session for Nu Century Arts at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath on Sunday evening. Entry is £6, it starts at 8pm and there is more at

Finally, a reminder that there is good jazz every Tuesday at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth and this week the band on the stand is the Mike Fletcher/Euan Burton Quartet. Starts some time after 8pm, entry is free though there is a collection, and there is more at

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