When it comes to hard-working and enthusiastic contributors to the jazz life of Birmingham and the wider Midlands, there are few who cover as many bases as trumpeter Ray Butcher.
Whether leading his own band, contributing live jazz for TV programmes, sitting in with the Walsall Jazz Orchestra, contributing to countless pop, soul and gospel sessions, or as part of Tim Amann’s X-Tet, Ray’s round, burnished tone rings out straight and true, while his smeared and growled notes add strong character.
Ray’s album War On The Saints features his trumpet – and on a few tracks his piano playing too – along with a range of players, from Tim Amann on piano to Percy Pursglove on bass. It’s a fine introduction to Ray’s sound and style, and he has nearly finished a new album of original tunes.
His latest live collaboration is with Welsh pianist Huw Warren.
Warren is a terrific player and composer, has a long list of recordings to his name, and in addition to leading and contributing to many jazz groups he has been musical director to folk singer June Tabor for many years now.
Now, with the addition of drummer Miles Levin, the Ray Butcher/Huw Warren band has become a trio, and plays tonight at The Red Lion in Warstone Lane, Birmingham, for Birmingham Jazz.
Get to The Red Lion’s before 7.45pm, pay £8 (or £5 if you are a member) to the nice people at the door, and you can expect an evening of standards mixed in with original compositions by the band members. There is also excellent beer and some pretty good food.