Top German pianists bookend the Midland jazz week

The week starts and ends with outstanding German pianists, and in between them are a couple of English pianists, an Italian saxophonist, a Scottish trombonist and an American bass player.

Hans Koller

Hans Koller

First up is pianist Hans Koller with his international band Chasing The Unicorn, playing for free at the Bramall Music Building on the University of Birmingham campus from 5pm this evening.

The band includes Francois Theberge on saxophones, Percy Pursglove on trumpet and double bass, and Jeff Williams on drums. There is a special guest, too, in New York alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher.

This is a superb band and led by one of the most talented composers and arrangers in the country. It’s a Jazzlines gig.

From there, head Bearwood way and catch the Tim Amann X-tet at the Silvershine Jazz Club. Tim is pianist for the Blue Notes, the band of the late Andy Hamilton, but in his own group he concentrates on his own strong compositions.

The music starts at 9pm and entry is £4. More information at www.bearwoodjazz.co.uk

Tomorrow, pianist and composer Toby Boalch leads a band of fellow Birmingham Conservatoire graduates – Chris Maddock and John Fleming on saxophones, Richard Foote on trombone, Nick Jurd on bass and Jonathan Silk on drums – in the Symphony Hall cafe bar for the Jazzlines Free session from 5pm.

Tommaso Starace (picture © Garry Corbett)

Tommaso Starace (picture © Garry Corbett)

Monday is not usually a jazz night, but it is this week with a visit from the Tomasso Starace Quintet to Lichfield.

The music will be by the late, great French pianist Michel Petrucciani, and in addition to Starace on saxophones, you can hear Damon Brown on trumpet, Neil Angilley on piano, Will Collier on bass and Chris Nicholls on drums.

It’s a Lichfield Arts presentation not at their usual venue but instead at the Wade Street Church Hall. It starts at 8.30pm, tickets are £12 (students £7) and you can find out more at www.lichfieldarts.co.uk or call the box office on 01543 262223.

Tuesday night is Spotted Dog night and trombonist Kieran McLeod brings his New World band into the pub. McLeod, a Royal Academy graduate, has a lot of the liveliest young London players in the line-up and the publicity promises “twisted blues, rambling folk, glorious jazz and lilting melodies.” And when did you hear a trombonist who didn’t lift your spirits?.

The music starts at 9pm, donations welcome, and there is more at www.blambirmingham.co.uk

Stratford Jazz now meets every second Wednesday, and this week the accent is on the blues with an old friend on the bill in the form of bassist Tom Hill and his Funkin’ Jazz Blues Dudes. Entry is £8 on the door, the fun starts at 8pm, and there is more at www.stratfordjazz.co.uk

Michael Wollny's [em]

Michael Wollny’s [em]

The second of our German pianists is the marvellous Michael Wollny, who has carved out a particularly distinctive jazz piano trio path with his band [em]. With him are Eva Kruse on double bass and Eric Schaefer on drums.

The band, and Wollny’s music, can be explosive and rock-hot one moment, sparse and chilling the next, and the group dynamics the musicians have developed over years of touring make them a compelling band to see and hear live.

This Jazzlines concert is in the Adrian Boult Hall on Wednesday at 8pm. Tickets are £12 and you can find out more at www.thsh.co.uk



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