So farewell, Adrian Boult Hall…

The goodbye looks started at the beginning of May, but now we’re into the final weeks of City Of Sounds, a programme of music in all styles as a way of “saying goodbye to Birmingham Conservatoire’s Adrian Boult Hall” which is due for demolition as part of the Paradise Forum redevelopment. But before it is reduced to rubble there are further exciting gigs planned.

Percy Pursglove (Photo © Jo Hornsby)

Percy Pursglove (Photo © Jo Hornsby)

As far as jazz goes, first up is Julian Argüelles’ Tetra, currently on tour but featuring, for this concert, Birmingham-based trumpeter Percy Pursglove. It’s an astute choice – there has always been for me a link between the music of Arguelles and the music  – Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Delius, Tippett – which Boult championed. Tetra is a powerhouse of younger talent – Kit Downes on piano, Sam Lasserson on bass, James Maddren on drums – and their leader’s compositions and saxophone playing just seem to keep on growing stronger. Pursglove is a bonus to any band, so this should be a real treat.

  • Julian Argüelles’ Tetra featuring Percy Pursglove, Friday 10 June, 8.30pm, Adrian Boult Hall, presented by Jazzlines. More HERE.

Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra changes with each new band of student recruits, and each year it gets some new home-grown compositions and arrangements to perform, courtesy of the Conservatoire’s senior jazz course students. In to adjudicate the new music and performances of 2016 is saxophonist and educator Tim Garland. We’re promised new arrangements of Horace Silver and George Russell as well as originalw works. The vitality and budding virtuosity of this band is always worth hearing.

  • New Compositions In Jazz with saxophonist Tim Garland, Tuesday 14 June, 7pm, Adrian Boult Hall. More HERE.

Not quite jazz but still of interest will be The Destruction Party – and that’s because leading the knees-up will be the always terrific – and on this occasion thoroughly appropriately named – The Destroyers. They will have the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble to help them. The Destroyers mix and mash a whole lot of styles from folk to reggae to funk and classical as well as jazz, and there are a few familiar jazz faces in their line-up.

  • Destruction Party featuring The Destroyers and The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, Sunday 19 June, 7pm, Adrian Boult Hall. More HERE.

The big jazz farewell finale features the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra with some exceedingly special guests. They are Dave Holland, Stan Sulzmann and Nate Smith.

Stan Sulzmann

Stan Sulzmann

Holland, born in Wolverhampton, is most celebrated for being Miles Davis’s double bass player during the heights of his jazz-rock fusion period in the late 1960s/early ’70s, but that is only a tiny part of a story which has stretched far and wide and continues to stretch today. He had a special relationship with the Conservatoire for many years, visiting regularly for masterclasses. Saxophonist Sulzmann, a teacher who is always spoken of with great affection by the students, will be a guest soloist with the band, and Smith, a regular associate of Holland’s, is the celeb drummer on the evening, which will also feature performances from Conservatoire alumni and staff.

  • Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra with Special Guests Dave Holland, Nate Smith and Stan Sulzmann, Friday 24 June, 7.30pm, Adrian Boult Hall. More HERE.

What a grand – and unmissable – way to say goodbye to a concert hall that has many cherished memories for jazz fans.

  • My own memories of the Adrian Boult Hall, or ABH as we regulars have called it, include being witness to life-changing performances by the David Murray Big Band, the Don Alias band (which included the Brecker Brothers) and Henry Threadgill’s Very Very Circus. But for a longer list of happy ABH memories, read Tony Dudley-Evans’ on the THSH Jazzlines website HERE
  • And for the full programme of June events at the ABH presented in the City Of Sounds series, including classical and choral concerts, go HERE.

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2 replies

  1. Good to read your memories of gigs at ABH. Very Very Circus of course, how did I not include it?! Likewise with the David Murray Big Band with Andy Hamilton joining David for a special feature.


  1. Conservatoire students past and present line up for a Fringe event – thejazzbreakfast

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