If you want to hear what young British jazz sounds like in 2012, the easiest way to find out is to get to a Roller Trio gig. This band has all the strongest elements in the music that is over a century old as it is being interpreted by today’s twentysomethings.
What you will find is great technical expertise but no preciousness about it, and no navel-gazing introspection. These guys like to whip up a storm of rockbeat-driven, free jazz-influenced, high-powered funk excitement.
The 2012 Mercury Prize nominees are saxophonist James Mainwaring, guitarist Luke Wynter and drummer Luke Reddin-Williams, and they met at Leeds College of Music.
There may or may not be a Leeds jazz sound, but if there is then Roller Trio have it, just as Trio VD had it before them.
The influences seem to come equally from Ornette Coleman and Metal, and that certainly makes for surprising sounds.
The Roller Trio are probably best heard (though they did pretty well at the showbiz shindig that is the Mercury Awards) in an intimate club setting, and that is exactly where you can hear them on Wednesday.
Fresh from touring Germany, they are appearing at Jazzlines regular monthly sessions at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath.
Giving them some support of the baritone kind is saxophonist Colin Mills leading his Mendeleev Quartet.
If that is a tasty end to your jazz week, there is a tasty start too in the form of the Chris Young Sextet. The young Birmingham Conservatoire graduate alto saxophonist has a great band with the interesting line-up of vibes, guitar and vocals in the front line alongside his saxophone, and they have some strong original music to share.
The sextet is at The Yardbird in Paradise Place this evening from 9pm. Entry is free.
The Solihull Jazz And Blues Festival is back for Friday to Bank Holiday Monday with outdoor stages in Mell Square and Jubilee Gardens and a jam-packed programme of free performances.
Among the highlights will be the impeccable retro-New Orleans sound of London’s Dixie Ticklers, multi-instrumentalist Alan Barnes leading his Liquorice Stick Allsorts, and, naturally, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys.
King Pleasure will be part of a Friday night Solihull Arts Complex concert called The Big Bear FFolly, celebrating 45 years of the record company of the same name.
There will be a Mardi Gras-style jazz parade on Sunday.
For more details go to www.solihullfestivals.co.uk
Tomorrow the Free Jazzlines session is provided by Welsh guitarist Dan Messore and his band, Indigo Kid. They are on from 5pm in the Symphony Hall Cafe Bar and entry is free.
From there head out to the Ort Cafe in Balsall Heath for the Arabella Sprot Quartet – Arabella on saxophone – or to The Red Lion in the Jewellery Quarter for Emeline and The Jazz Mates – singer Emeline is from the Midlands but spends a lot of time these days in Switzerland.
Emeline is presented by Birmingham Jazz and the gig starts at 7.45pm. Entry is £4 and you can find out more at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk; Arabella is presented by Blam! and starts at 8.30pm, entry £5 and more at www.blambirmingham.co.uk
Tuesday welcomes a very classy and respected tenor saxophonist to The Spotted Dog. He is Art Themen, a long-time collaborator with Stan Tracey.
For a long time Art juggled saxophone playing with orthopaedic surgery, but I have a feeling he has now retired and can spend more time on jazz.
He has played with Nat Adderley, George Coleman and Ian Carr during his lengthy career but for this gig he has Sam Watts on piano, Chris Mapp on bass and Miles Levin on drums.
It starts at 9pm, recommended donation is £10 and there is more at www.blambirmingham.co.uk