Birmingham Jazz, one of the few independent jazz clubs left in the region following the apparent folding of Stratford Jazz, opened its 2015 winter/spring season last Friday.
As I understand it, Stratford Jazz’s end came because no volunteer could be found to take over the running of the club, though I’ve no doubt it is probably more complicated than that. Birmingham Jazz is in the very fortunate position of having an enthusiastic and hard-working volunteer committee, determined to put on regular jazz despite having no public grant to help them.
So, if you want them to remain enthusiastic, they need your support. It’s pretty easy to give it: just go along to their gigs, pay on the door, or buy a raffle ticket or five, or become a member, or add a little donation when you can. Or all of the above. Remember, if Phil Rose smiles at you, you’re probably doing the right thing.
Anyway, enough of the rallying cries – on to the music.
This week BJ adds a little bit extra to the mix. The band is Threeway – comprising electric bassist Ben Crosland, pianist/keyboardist Steve Lodder and trumpeter/flugelhorn player Steve Waterman – but it’s augmented by Empirical vibraphonist Lewis Wright. This instrumental line-up follows that of Threeway’s latest CD, Looking Forward, Looking Back, which added Jim Hart on vibes.
Threeway has been in existence for over ten years, a meeting of three strong musical characters, all leaders in their own right and much in demand as side-men in other bands as well. It should be a tasty treat, the trumpet contrasting nicely with the vibes, and with no drums all four players need to be on their rhythmic mettle.
This is one of those civilised clubs where you can eat while you listen, and the beer is usually pretty good too.
- Threeway + Lewis Wright are at The Red Lion in Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham on Friday, starting at 7.45pm prompt. Admission is £12, £10 for members and £5 for students.
- More information about this gig and all the upcoming Birmingham Jazz gigs can be found here.
- For a calendar of good gigs around the English Midlands in January 2015, go here.