Jam-packed Friday jazz night in Birmingham

The last evening of the working week is always a good one for jazz fans, but tonight offers even more than usual.

Birmingham Jazz has called the big band Svengali out of retirement for a special gig at the Red Lion in Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter.

Formed in 1988 with the Cannonball  jazz club as its home, this band was created and led by master writer-arranger Chris Corcoran as a tribute to Gil Evans. Featuring some of the best players in the region, Svengali won awards and commissions from Birmingham Jazz and gave memorable performances with visiting stars such as Guy Barker and Andy Sheppard – with a repertoire stretching far from its original remit, to include originals and re-worked jazz versions of rock and latin classics. Now, the centenary of Gil Evans’ birth offers us the opportunity for the re-birth of this great band.

This gig starts at 7.45pm, and tickets are £4 on the door (BJ members free). Should be a rammed room!

Over in Balsall Heath there is the regular Ort Cafe Friday jazz and tonight London-based double bassist Ollie Brice leads a trio with saxophonist Mike Fletcher and drummer Tymoteusz Jozwiak. It starts at 8.30pm, entry is £5/£3.

And, of course, the Beat City Jazz Festival is in its second day with great music from 3pm till the wee hours.

On the bill today are:

3pm: Sean Gibbs Quintet – Edinburgh trumpeter Sean leads a band which includes pianist Dave Ferris and drummer Jonathan Silk. They play original tunes influenced by Dave Holland and Kenny Wheeler. The Yardbird.

6pm: Chris Young Sextet – Chris has an interesting frontline which mixes his alto in with vocals and vibes. The Yardbird.

9pm: Zoe Rahman Quartet – the fabulous pianist leads her regular drummer Gene Calderazzo, with Alec Dankworth on bass plus flautist Rowland Sutherland in her rich originals which combine Bengali and Celtic influences in with jazz. British & Midlands Institute.

And then head for Churchill’s Snooker Bar where there just could be a late-night jam session.

More details and booking for all these gigs (a day ticket is £20, just Rahman is £12) at www.beatcityjazzfestival.com


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