A lot of the jazz world has taken August off, whether to take part in the major European festivals or to just chill out with a book on a beach, but there are still some intrepid folk prepared to stay at home to entertain us.
Trumpeter Bryan Corbett is back to full strength after a long illness, and brings his band into Brindley Place where Jazzlines moves its Free Jazz session to an al fresco setting.
The classic Corbett Quartet with Levi French on piano, Ben Markland on bass and Neil Bullock on drums has brought Birmingham jazz audiences untold pleasure down the years, so it is great to have the band back again, with Marcus Byrne now on piano.
The music starts at 5pm tomorrow and there is more at www.thsh.co.uk
The path from there out to Balsall Heath should become a well-worn one on Friday evenings, because The Ort Cafe offers a most rewarding programme in its intimate, friendly and relaxed room. Tomorrow Ort jazz organiser Tymek Jozwiak is behind the drums with Mike Fletcher on saxophone and flute, and Olie Brice on double bass.
Jozwiak and Fletcher are busy and flexible players on the Birmingham scene, while Brice is based in London and favours the freer end of the jazz spectrum, so we can expect some excitement from a relatively chord-free, melody-driven trio.
The music starts at 8.30pm and entry is £5 (£3) on the door. More at www.blambirmingham.co.uk
On Saturday evening the action moves to Shropshire, with a rare appearance in this neck of the woods by the David Rees-Williams Trio.
David is on piano with Neil Francis on bass guitar and Phil Laslett on drums and, amazingly, they have been together since 1988. Their repertoire centres around jazz versions of classical themes, with their interpretation of Purcell’s When I Am Laid In Earth aria from his opera Dido & Aeneas a particular favourite.
They are playing this weekend as part of the Church Stretton Festival in Church Stretton School.
The gig starts at 7.30pm and entry is £16 (£8 for children). There is more at www.strettonfestival.org.uk
And, of course, for three days jam-packed with jazz from all over the world, the place to be is amid the picturesque Brecon Beacons.
The Brecon Jazz Festival runs from tomorrow until Sunday and my choice gigs are as follows:
Tomorrow: Pianist Jason Rebello makes a very welcome return to jazz with Troy Miller on drums and Karl Rasheed-Abel on bass (both just back from touring with Laura Mvula), Paul Stacey on guitar and Joy Rose on vocals; Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer in collaboration with Biosphere, who is electronic musician Geir Jenssen.
Saturday: Two of the finest piano trios in the world, both Anglo-Scandinavian, can be heard back to back with Phronesis on first and Django Bates’ Beloved following them. I know we don’t recognise jazz as a competitive entrerprise, but no one is going to convince me that these musicians won’t be feeling the pressure.
Sunday: The Impossible Gentlemen are the obvious headliners as they establish themselves as one of the most important bands around, while the John Surman Trio and the folk-jazz trio Quercus offer the other major temptations. Young trumpeter Laura Jurd is also on hand with her Quartet.
Lots more at www.breconjazz.com