Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in an underground snooker club – it’s a strong and not so unlikely image, given the man’s wide-ranging interests in all kinds of experience. And that is where Birmingham composer and pianist Steve Tromans is taking his Howl project this evening.
The performance will be as part of Sam Marchant’s ongoing Churchills Snooker Club sessions and starts at 9pm. The band will feature many of the original musicians from the premiere of this Birmingham Jazz commission at the CBSO Centre back in 2004, the full line-up being: Steve Tromans, piano and direction; Sid Peacock, vocals and narration; Mark Hanslip, tenor sax; Chris Young, tenor sax; Mike Green, double bass; and Miles Levin, drums.
After its premiere Howl was toured in the UK between 2004-2006, with performances at music, literature and poetry venues and festivals including Cheltenham International Jazz Festival, Glastonbury Festival, The Vortex in London, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, Between the Lines Literary Festival in Belfast, and Stanza Poetry Festival in St Andrews.
And what does it sound like? “Relentless, fast, energising, mesmerising – there’s no polite response possible,” was the answer of Aldeburgh Poetry Festival director Naomi Jaffa back in 2005.
Steve says: “It would be great to see as many people as possible check out the gig – those who remember the work from previously, and those who may be curious as to how such an epic seminal poem could be given an avant-garde jazz setting.”
For a mere £4 you can explore some great poetry, some fine modern jazz and even enjoy free pool all night as well. And all underground. It’s the full beat experience right there.
Churchills is at 20 Stephenson Street, Birmingham, and you can catch up with Steve Tromans and his busy musical life here.