The mighty range of the alto saxophone – the gigs this week

The alto saxophone from ancient to modern – well from bebop to hip-hop anyway – is on show this week with two excellent gigs showing the full range of that music we call jazz.

Soweto Kinch

First up, on Saturday night at the mac in Cannon Hill Park, is Soweto Kinch and his Legend Of Mike Smith Trio.

The music comes from a new project inspired by Dante, and tells the story of the imaginary Mike Smith as an urban music star doing battle with the seven deadly sins as he makes a bid for stardom.

Kinch, as quick and witty at rapping as he is on alto saxophone, has stripped the band down to just a trio with Karl Raheed-Abel on bass and Graham Godfrey on drums.

The project was first presented earlier in the year as a multi-media event with dance, but the terspichorean aspect has been shelved for the Kinch trio’s current tour.

Expect some explosive and intense playing, a great vibe and some good jokes, too, from one of this country’s most exciting contemporary musicians, irrespective of genre.

The Soweto Kinch Trio is in the mac theatre at 8pm on Saturday. More information and booking for this Jazzlines gig are here.

Peter King

On Tuesday Jazz @ The Spotted Dog presents a true British jazz legend, the alto saxophonist Peter King.

Author Dave Gelly wrote that King “is the finest alto saxophonist that Britain has ever produced” and, like most other players of the instrument, he developed a fascination for, if not an obsession with, the playing of Charlie Parker.

What sets King apart from the other Bird followers, however, is that he can sometimes get pretty close to the great man himself, both in technique and musical insight.

Of course he does more than “channel” Charlie Parker, amazing as that is to hear, and has developed his own very particular way with modern jazz, though the bebop phrasing and attitude is never far away.

For the Birmingham gig, Peter King will have a young local rhythm team of Andy Bunting on piano, Nick Jurd on double bass and Jonathan Silk on drums.

The music at this Digbeth pub starts at 9pm and you get to make your appreciation monetary by giving generously when the hat goes round.

Find out more about this Jazzlines/Blam! gig and future ones at the same venue by looking for Jazz @ The Spotted Dog on facebook or going here.

Other good gigs this week:

Today: Chris Maddock band – more alto saxophone! The Yardbird, 9pm, free entry.

Tomorrow: The John Turville Trio – John on piano, Chris Hill on bass and Ben Reynolds on drums – promoting their new CD, Conception, with help from Jazz Services. Symphony Hall Cafe Bar, 5pm, free entry.

Tomorrow: The Mike Williams Quartet – Mike on alto saxophone, Percy Pursglove on bass, Gareth Fowler on guitar and Tymoteusz Jozwiak on drums. The Ort Cafe, 9pm, free entry. More here.

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