Don’t let the Autumn gigs float by your window…

… those Autumn gigs of red and gold. It’s September and the jazz world has shaken the beach sand from between its toes and got back to work. There is loads to look forward to – and in many cases to book for. Don’t hang about…

Here are some highlights:

Maria Schneider

Maria Schneider

The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra comes to Birmingham for the first time (in fact if it’s not the New Work-based band’s first gig outside London, it’s pretty close to it). Much lauded doesn’t come close when you look at the MSJO’s history. Maria Schneider studied with Bob Brookmeyer and was assistant to Gil Evans before taking the reins of her own jazz orchestra for which she has written ever since. Her compositions are richly evocative landscapes and portraits in sound, and she has the cream of New York musicians to write for. In addition to a performance by the Jazz Orchestra in Symphony Hall on Thursday 19 November, a quintet of musicians from her band will play at the CBSO Centre on Friday 20 November. Details of these gigs are here and here.

Marcus Miller, not only an extraordinary electric bassist but a jazz musician who has shaped modern music more than most. He created a whole new sound and style for jazz with Miles Davis in the 1980s and his production and arrangements for the likes of Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter and Davis Sunburn. His latest album, Afrodeezia, shows him playing with musicians around the world – he comes to Birmingham Town Hall on Wednesday 28 October. Full details here.

At the deeply romantic end of the jazz style sits a concert grand with Diana Krall caressing its ivories. She is at Symphony Hall in Birmingham as part of her Wildflowers World Tour, though if you want seats you will have to be quick – there aren’t many left. This concert is on Monday 28 September. Full details here.

For a gig to warm the heart and get the body dancing there is nothing quite like an evening with trombonist Annie Whitehead, and she brings her long-standing QuartetSteve Lodder on piano, Jennifer Maidman on bass and Liam Genockey on drums – to The Albany Club in Coventry on Thursday 22 October, courtesy of Jazz Coventry. Full details here.

Food provide just that – and not just for thought, either. They feed the imagination too. Food is the duo of Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen and British saxophonist Iain Ballamy. For their intimate concert in the Hexagon at the mac, Birmingham, on Wednesday 2 December, they will be joined by Birmingham trumpeter Percy Pursglove. This is a TDE Promotion. Full details here.

Julian Argüelles (Photo © John Watson/

Julian Argüelles (Photo © John Watson/

Saxophonist (originally) from these parts Julian Argüelles has a new band and a new album and brings his Quartet to The Spotted Dog, in Digbeth, Birmingham, on Tuesday 27 October. If proof were needed that the regular ‘Dog Tuesday session organised by Jonathan Silk and Richard Foote has attained real standing as an important stop on band’s UK touring schedules, this is it. Full details of Jazz at The Spotted Dog’s extremely impressive Autumn programme are here.

Fizzle, the fortnightly Tuesday session at The Lamp Tavern, is also going from strength to strength, thanks to the tireless work of Andrew Woodhead, and the Autumn programme features many exciting looking combinations of improvising musicians, including Paul Dunmall, Mark Sanders, John Edwards and Olie Brice. Fizzle is also exploring away from The Lamp with help from Tony Dudley Evans’s TDE Promotions (see Food above). Full details here.

Birmingham Jazz is doing good things at The Red Lion in the Jewellery Quarter and their Autumn highlights include singer Christine Tobin on Friday 18 September and Larry Bartley’s Just Us quartet on Friday 2 October, the latter gig being part of Black History Month. Full details here.

  • For a selection of the September gigs happening in Birmingham and across the West and East Midlands, don’t forget to check out thejazzbreakfast Diary. It’s here

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