It’s a week of great gigs in small venues, with a jam-packed programme tonight.
Down at Andy Hamilton’s regular Thursday Bearwood Jazz night in the Bearwood Corks Club, tenor saxophonist, Birmingham Conservatoire graduate and 2010 Yamaha Jazz Scholar Lluis Mather is leading his Lasso band, – two saxophones, bass and drums. The doors open at 8.30pm, the music starts at 9pm and entry is £4. Find out more at www.bearwoodjazz.co.uk
In the city centre at the Yardbird, you’ll find alto player Mike Fletcher, who is very much back in force on the Birmingham scene (he also runs a Tuesday night thing at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth). With him tonight are Barry Edwards, Fred Baker and Mark Sanders. A powerhouse of a band if ever there was one. The music runs from 9pm to 2am with the Cobweb Collective house band in there too, somewhere. Entry is free.
And to the north, in the middle of Lichfield, the Back Room Jazz Club meets tonight at the George IV pub in Bore Street. The club is the brainchild of Conservatoire student Nick Dewhurst and usually features his fellow students.
Tonight it’s the turn of pianist Tom Lindsay with his trio. Tom is a regular Back Room man having played there during the autumn festival at the George IV and on several of the monthly gigs. He cites as influences the pianists Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau.
Support comes from the jazz trombonist Tom Baxter and his six-piece hard bop band. It starts at 8.30pm and entry is free.
Tomorrow evening the Rush Hour Blues slot is the third in a series featuring Cobweb Collective bands, and this time the leader is bassist Chris Mapp.
Chris, one of the artistic directors of the Harmonic Festival which will be running for the second time in the autumn of this year, formed a new band for the first Harmonic. It’s called Gambol, and features the aforementioned Lluis Mather on tenor and flute, Sam Wooster on trumpet, Dan Nicholls on keyboard and Jim Bashford on drums.
Listen out for tunes about balti houses and the crazies you find on the streets of this fair city. Chris Mapp’s Gambol plays from 5.30pm to 7pm in the Symphony Hall Foyer and entry is free.
On Sunday the ever-popular trumpeter Bryan Corbett brings his quartet into the Chapel in Shakespeare Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.
On piano is Levi French, on bass Ben Markland and on drums Neil Bullock. This must surely be the longest-running band with the same personnel playing in the Midlands, if not the whole country. And that’s the joy of it – four excellent musicians each so attuned to one another that they can just go with their instincts and make lovely, free-flowing, seemingly effortless jazz.
Not really effortless, though, as they are constantly reacting, reinventing and all those other re- things jazz does best. This is a Stratford Jazz gig, it starts at 8pm and entry is £8. More info at www.stratfordjazz.org.uk