Dan, Jon and Ivo lead the West Midlands jazz week

Dan Nicholls (Photo © John Watson/jazzcamera.co.uk)

Dan Nicholls (Photo © John Watson/jazzcamera.co.uk)

Tomorrow pianist and composer Dan Nicholls is the next of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation-supported Jazzlines Fellows to get a showcase concert.

Nicholls, a Staffordshire boy who studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and now works out of London, has travelled to Africa as part of his Fellowship year, and as a result his nine-piece Point X band is generously endowed in the drums and percussion area. Hitting things will be Kaw Secka, Bex Birch, Jim Hart and Dave De Rose

Point X also features the saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings and Tom Challenger, and the guitarist Matt Calvert, with the leader on keyboards, electronics and Kalimba-keyboard.

It isn’t just an outfit for the ears, as Stephen Byram and Nicholls himself will be adding visuals.

We can expect, so I understand, “big beats, distinctive hooks and electrifying group interplay”.

Dan Nicholl’s Point X is at the CBSO Centre, Berkley Street, at 8pm. Tickets are £12 and for more information go here.

Also tomorrow Birmingham Jazz has a strong line-up under the leadership of soprano saxophonist and bass clarinetist Jon Lloyd. With him are John Law on piano, Rob Palmer on guitar, Tom Farmer on bass and Dave Hamblett (sitting in for Asaf Sirkis) on drums.

Lloyd has a new album out called Vanishing Points and is moving away from his free-improv roots and into a more harmonically inclined area. Law and Lloyd have been band mates since the early 1990s and Lloyd’s Syzygy Quartet.

The Jon Lloyd Group are at The Red Lion in Warstone Lane from 7.45pm, tickets are £12 (£10 for members) and there is more at Birmingham Jazz’s whizzy new website here.

So, two excellent Friday night gigs that are both worth your money, but in fact there is a  band that features some of the most exciting players on the current scene, including three that are in those ticketed gigs, playing for free earlier in the evening.

The Ivo Neame Quintet has the leader on piano, Jim Hart on vibes, Tori Freestone on saxophones, Tom Farmer on double bass (not Jasper Hoiby as previously announced) and Dave Hamblett on drums.

Five band leaders in their own right, showing how rich the UK jazz scene is at the moment, and all together in the Symphony Hall cafe bar from 5pm. This is part of the Jazzlines Free Jazz series. More here.

Vic Evans

Vic Evans

Before all that there is a birthday party. The date is today, the venue is the Silvershine Jazz Club at the Bearwood Corks Club, and the birthday boy is vocalist Vic Evans, 80 years old and still singing.

Vic was a regular alongside the late, great saxophonist and the man in whose honour Silvershine is named: Andy Hamilton. Andy’s band, the Blue Notes, will be on hand and all those who have ever performed with Vic in the past are warmly invited to take the stage with him again.

Vic Evans’ 80th Birthday Party starts at 9pm, tickets are £6 (£5 concessions) and there is more here.

Tuesday at The Spotted Dog sees a very welcome outing for Chris Young’s Sextet, featuring a novel saxophone, voice, guitar and vibes front line. With Chris on alto are Lottie Hodgson on vocals, Liam Halloran on vibraphone, Tom Ford on guitar, Stuart Barker on bass and Ben Kane on drums.

It starts at 9pm, a collection goes round and there is a jam session afterwards. More on Jazz @ The Spotted Dog on Facebook.



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