Forget the Christmas shopping and instead dedicate tomorrow to jazz. There are four good gigs to keep you busy and three of them are free entry so they’re cheaper than socks and chocs too.
Start at 1.10pm at the Barber Institute where 2011 MOBO winners Kairos 4tet are back in business after a forced hiatus when saxophonist leader Adam Waldmann was unable to play due to injury.
The band is an all-star one with two thirds of Phronesis – pianist Ivo Neame and bassist Jasper Hoiby – plus drummer Jon Scott.
Kairos 4tet play a contemporary jazz as rewarding as it is accessible, full of memorable tunes, great attention to texture and detail and with lots of space for improvisation.
And the Barber Institute building is a fine venue for this acoustic music.
Why not stay there for the afternoon and take in the outstanding art collection before heading over to Symphony Hall for 5pm and the regular Jazzlines rush-hour session.
Tomorrow’s band is Sector 7, four singers and three instrumentalists who give the vocal group tradition of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices a London twist.
Their recent EP included songs by Gershwin, Stevie Wonder and Chick Corea, and it will be fun to hear their voices soaring in the high space of the Symphony Hall foyer.
From there, it’s supper and then there is a choice.
The first option is to head for Balsall Heath and The Ort Cafe which is just opposite Moseley Baths. On the stand after 8.30pm is Tobie Carter’s drummerless sextet The Lobbus, with Tobie on guitar, Matt Holdborn on violin, Chris Young, Lluis Mather and Callum Roxburgh on reeds, and Sebastiano Dessanay on double bass.
The band has recorded an album of original material and will be playing this.
The alternative is to stay in town and teleport your ears back to The Sinatra Years when Frank was singing with the Tommy Dorsey band. How to get there? The Gordon Campbell Big Band with singer Matthew Ford will be both your transportation and your guides.
Tommy Dorsey – The Sinatra Years is at Birmingham Town Hall tomorrow night from 7.30pm.
Before all that, it’s the first Thursday of the month today which means there is jazz at the Bramall Building on the University of Birmingham campus, and tonight tenor saxophonist Andy Isherwood and his band will be summoning up the Blue Note spirits of the 1960s and might throw in a seasonal song or two.
The music starts at 5pm, it’s free and you can find out more here.
On Sunday the Midlands’ own band of rising stars, MYJO, is Singin’ & Swingin’ under the direction of John Ruddick at the Norbury Theatre in Droitwich. It starts at 7.30pm, tickets are £13 on the door, and doing the singing will be Sophie Feek. For more information go here.
Also on Sunday, Stratford Jazz presents Midland favourites, the Chris Bowden Quartet: Chris on alto saxophone, Steve Tromans on piano, Ben Markland on double bass and Neil Bullock on drums. It starts at 8pm at The Chapel, No 1 Shakespeare St, Stratford upon Avon, entry is £8 on the door, and you can find out more here. For updates and other gigs happening, see the Comments on this post.
On Tuesday a trio called Hunt/Hobbs/Hurley plays electronically tweaked music at the freer end of the jazz spectrum at The Lamp Tavern in Digbeth. It starts at 8.30pm, entry is £5 and you can find out more here.
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