The new jazz year is in full swing this week with lots of Birmingham-based bands doing their thing around town.
But first, a Nottingham-born, Berklee-trained saxophonist who has built a fine reputation around the world not only for his original music but also for his reworking of the compositions of Thelonious Monk in particular, and of the standard jazz songbook repertoire in general.
And it’s the last named that will be in the set list when Tony Kofi brings his Standard Time Trio to the Red Lion in Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, tomorrow evening.
Kofi has a whole shelf of awards to his name, including winner, Best instrumentalist at the 2008 BBC Jazz awards, winner, best Ensemble at the 2005 Parliamentary Jazz Awards, and winner, Radio 3 Jazz Line-up album of the year at the 2005 BBC Jazz awards. He was nominated for a MOBO award in 2008.
Larry Bartley is on double bass and Rod Youngs on drums, so the rhythms will be swinging hard while Kofi, who is always melodic while also building some real heat into his solos, will be shedding new light on tunes you thought you knew through and through.
This should be a real pin-your-ears-back performance in this intimate upstairs room space, and is highly recommended.
It’s a Birmingham Jazz gig, and begins at 7.45pm. Tickets are £10 (£8 for members) and you can book now on www.birminghamjazz.co.uk
Before that another fine saxophonist and one not heard nearly enough, Mike Williams leads a strong quartet this early evening in the foyer of the Bramall Music Building on the University of Birmingham campus.
Phil Robson is on guitar, Percy Pursglove on double bass and James Maddren on drums.
It starts at 5pm, is a free gig and is the first of Jazzlines’ monthly gigs in this slot for 2013. More at www.jazzlines.co.uk
Tomorrow, yet another strong player of the curved, reeded instrument leads the band, this time at the Symphony Hall foyer bar at 5pm.
Except this time he’s on guitar and vocals. It’s that very versatile local hero Steve Ajao and the accent is on the blues with Steve’s Blues Giants comprising Mike Hatton on bass guitar and Pete Hammond on drums. Entry is free for this Jazzlines gig.
And after that there is music in tribute to a novelist, polymath and agnostic mystic, as pianist and composer Steve Tromans describes him. The man in question is Robert Anton Wilson, and Steve is marking the sixth anniversary of his death with this gig at The Ort Cafe in Balsall Heath.
He is assisted by Tom Ford on guitar, Ash Trigg on bass and Tymek Jozwiak on drums. The music starts at 8.30pm and entry is £5 (£3 concessions). More at www.blambirmingham.co.uk
On Tuesday, there is more high class jazz music for no charge at The Jam House. Double bassist Ben Markland, such a vital backline man in the bands of Bryan Corbett, Sara Colman and Chris Bowden, gets to lead and place his excellent compositions and arrangements centre stage with his Quartet.
The music starts at 8.30pm, and it’s also a Jazzlines gig.