Sirkis, Walker/Dixon and Smith III make for a jazz feast this week

It’s a jam-packed programme over the next couple of days with visitors from near(ish) and far, and a few rare treats to be had.

Asaf Sirkis

Asaf Sirkis

Tomorrow’s Jazzlines Free session at Symphony Hall’s cafe bar is an overly generous one, a band that we really all should be paying good money to see. Still, in these cash-strapped days, that means we have some notes in our pockets spare for the other gigs on offer, I suppose.

The Asaf Sirkis Trio is led from the drums, with Sirkis’s friend from his Gilad Atzmon days, Yaron Stavi on bass and Tassos Spiliotopoulos on guitar. This is a band that takes as much inspiration from rock’s power trios as it does from jazz, so you can expect some fireworks. Fusion lives!

The fun starts at 5pm. More at www.thsh.co.uk

Mike Walker (Picture: Russ Escritt)

Mike Walker (Picture: Russ Escritt)

From there, it’s a quick move to the Barton Arms in Aston where Birmingham Jazz has pulled off something of a coup and persuaded two of this country’s most treasured players down from their Manchester stamping ground to front a quintet.

On guitar is Mike Walker, on saxophones and clarinets is Iain Dixon, and while the rest of the band comprises Les Chisnall on piano, Gary Culshaw on bass and Caroline Boaden on drums. It’s likely that the music will be from the pens of the two leaders.

These are joyous players, and to have the opportunity to hear them in a relatively intimate pub room is really special.

It starts at 7.45pm, tickets are £10 (£8 BJ members) on the door. You can grab a bite to eat here, too, so no need to sacrifice your appetite in the cause of jazz. More at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk

Walter Smith III

Walter Smith III

On Saturday evening at the CBSO Centre there is the chance to hear a US saxophonist who might not be that familiar a name, but whose discography and gig list tells you all you need to know.

Tenor player Walter Smith III is a regular in the bands of trumpeters Terrence Blanchard and Ambrose Akinmusire, the big band of pianist Jason Moran, and also takes to the stage with bassist Christian McBride, drummer Eric Harland and trumpeter Christian Scott.

He has appeared on 75 recordings, and the most recent album under his own name, which was released in 2010, has Akinmusire on trumpet, Moran on piano and Harland on drums.

He has now signed to Concord Records and has a new project on the way.

For this concert he is joined by Michael Janisch on double bass and, friends from Christian Scott’s band, drummer Jamire Williams and guitarist Matt Stevens.

Judging by what I have heard on his recordings this should be a rich and rewarding evening for all fans of the modern tenor saxophone.

This Jazzlines concert starts at 8pm, tickets are £14 and you can book now on www.thsh.co.uk

Other good gigs this week:

Tonight: a rare chance to hear Guildhall School of Music’s jazz boss, saxophonist Martin Hathaway, in a trio with Trevor lines on bass and Miles Levin on drums. The Spotted Dog, Digbeth, from 9pm. Donations welcomed.

Tuesday: Dan Nicholl’s Money Jungle plays the music of Monk and Mingus with fresh twists, and alongside the leader on piano are Sam Wooster on trumpet, Mike Fletcher on saxophone and Richard Foote on trombone, with Colin Somervell on bass and Euan Palmer on drums. Again, The Spotted Dog, from 9pm, donations welcome and more on both these gigs at www.blambirmingham.com

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