Judged against the age of other academic institutions, the jazz course at Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Department may be barely out of nappies, but its impact on the jazz music not only of this city but far beyond is being felt in increasing large ripples.
Tonight and tomorrow evening we can hear just two graduates of that course who are establishing themselves as creative and innovative band leaders out in the wider, harsher world of British jazz.
And you can sample their wares for nothing in the next couple of days.
Saxophonist Rachael Cohen made the long journey from the Shetland Islands to study at the Conservatoire and is about to release here debut album on Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings label.
It features another Conservatoire grad Jim Bashford on drums, one of the institution’s tutors Phil Robson on guitar, and fellow Scot and cohort in Tommy Smith’s Scottish Jazz Youth Orchestra Calum Gourlay on double bass. We don’t yet know what the album is called but we do know that, in the best Blue Note tradition, it was recorded in one day.
You can hear music from the album this evening at the Bramall Music Building on the University of Birmingham campus tonight from 5pm. Not quite the same band as on the recording – with Rachael will be Simon King, Nick Jurd and Jim Bashford.
Tomorrow, the 5pm slot at the Symphony Hall Cafe Bar is filled by pianist and composer David Austin Grey’s Greyish Quartet.
The other former students in this band are Sam Wooster on trumpet, Nick Jurd on double bass and the very busy Jim Bashford, again, on drums.
The band has a recent album out called The Dark Red Room, and the music, all written by Grey, is inspired by film and photography. They are currently in the middle of a UK tour and have special guests, including Soweto Kinch, added to some of their dates.
More about both these free Jazzlines gigs is at www.thsh.co.uk
After this early evening session to calm the tired worker before their commute home, you can head south to The Ort Cafe in Balsall Heath for… well, more from the Greyish Quartet, actually.
These young men just don’t get tired. And joining them for this performance will be alto saxophonist Chris Young, who also studied at… you guessed it.
The music starts at 8.30pm and entry is £5. More at www.ortcafe.co.uk
Other gigs of note this week:
Tonight: Pianist Reuben James, fresh from playing at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival last weekend, is at the Silverline Jazz Club in Bearwood with US clarinetist Giacomo Smith. Doors open at 8.30pm and entry is £4. More at www.bearwoodjazz.co.uk
Monday: Bassist Mark Goodchild leads a sextet at Bolehill Manor in Tamworth. The band includes Andy Bunting on piano. Starting time is 8.30pm and you can find out more at www.bolehillmanorclub.co.uk
Tuesday: Scottish drummer, now resident in London, Corrie Dick leads his Quartet at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth. The music starts at 9pm and a £5 donation is encouraged. More at www.blambirmingham.co.uk
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