Alison Vermee, who turned the little Shropshire town of Much Wenlock into a vital tour stop for international jazz artists, is now doing the same for the city of Wolverhampton.
She has just announced a new jazz season at the Arena Theatre, and the line-up includes The Impossible Gentlemen (a master stroke, this), the Zoe Rahman Quartet and Gilad Atzmon with his Orient House Ensemble.
The Arena Theatre also has its first Patron, in the form of, naturally, jazz superstar Dave Holland, a son of the city, being born in Wolverhampton in 1946.
The Arena already has a strong reputation in theatre, dance, family and community events, so the move to incorporate jazz and contemporary music, as part of a wider development programme being undertaken with support from the Arts Council, is most welcome. The new programme will be called Jazz at the Arena.
And, if one jazz musician as a Patron is not enough, here’s another. Pianist Zoe Rahman is to be the first Patron of the Jazz At The Arena programme specifically.
Zoe said: “”I’m thrilled that Alison Vermee invited me to be a patron of the Jazz programme at Wolverhampton’s Arena Theatre and am really looking forward to being involved with the future development of this exciting new venue for the jazz community.”
So, here are those all-important dates, and let’s give them all the support we can so that the Jazz At The Arena programme thrives long into the future.
Saturday 5 October, 8pm: Zoe Rahman Quartet, with Idris Rahman on clarinet, Alec Dankworth on bass and Gene Calderazzo on drums. £12.
Sunday 20 October, 8pm: The Impossible Gentlemen – Gwilym Simcock on piano, Mike Walker on guitar, Steve Rodby (replacing Steve Swallow) on bass, Adam Nussbaum on drums. £18.
Saturday 7 December, 8pm: Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble, with Frank Harrison on piano, Yaron Stavi on bass and Eddie Hick on drums. £12.
For more information go here.