It’s the week of the big hitters with three major jazz concerts in the Midlands.
First up, tomorrow evening, is the saxophonist David Murray in his Infinity Quartet.
Murray is one of those jazz players who started out in the avant-garde, at the experimental outreaches of the music, and now finds himself at the very heart of it, not so much through any attempts on his part to make his music more widely accessible, but more as a result of the jazz fraternity having caught up with him.
Murray has always fed upon the traditions, bringing soul, world and gospel music into his jazz. On his most recent album, Be My Monster Love. Macy Gray was a guest vocalist, as was the jazz singer of the moment Gregory Porter.
With him will be the bassist and drummer from that album, Jaribu Shahid and Nasheet Waits, along with Rod Williams on piano.
Murray is a player of visceral power and gargantuan appetite when it comes to source material – he is like jazz’s saxophone history, Bechet to Rollins, all rolled into one, all filtered through his own very distinctive personality. He’s one of the most exciting players I’ve ever seen.
David Murray’s Infinity Quartet is at the CBSO Centre tomorrow at 8pm. More on this Jazzlines gig here.
On Sunday the superb transatlantic quartet, The Impossible Gentlemen, is at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton.
The Gentlemen comprise pianist Gwilym Simcock, guitarist Mike Walker, drummer Adam Nussbaum and bassist Steve Rodby (in for usual bassist Steve Swallow). They have a new album out called Internationally Recognised Aliens, and it is likely to be on a lot of “album of the year” lists for 2013.
The band won the Best Ensemble Award at the 2013 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and reports of earlier gigs on this current tour have been ecstatic.
The Impossible Gentlemen are on Sunday at 8pm. For more information and to book tickets (if there are any left) go here or call 01902 321 321.
And on Monday, the most successful jazz musician in Britain plays Symphony Hall. Singer, pianist and all-round good guy Jamie Cullum is likely to be playing music from his new album, Momentum, rated by many critics as his best yet, and this concert is billed as “plus special guests”.
Jamie is guest director at Cheltenham Jazz Festival and made an impromptu visit to the stage during Laura Mvula’s set there in May. Might a return favour be on the cards on Monday night? We’ll have to wait and see.
This Jazzlines concert is sold out, so if you are a Jamie Cullum fan I hope you already have yours.