Contemporary big band music and transatlantic collaboration come together for this week’s live jazz highlight.
At the 2011 Undead Jazz Festival in New York, Jazzlines’ Artistic Adviser Tony Dudley-Evans heard the Andrew D’Angelo Big Band, and was knocked out. He remembers it as “innovative, but respectful of the tradition, yet, above all, a fun and entertaining concert”.
Birmingham has its own innovative, fun and entertaining big band in the form of the Mike Fletcher Big Band, which has played the Symphony Hall foyer Friday session as well as at the Fletcher-organised Jazz @ The Spotted Dog Tuesday evenings.
Fletcher, who plays saxophone and has been an integral part of many of the city’s influential bands over the past decade, including the Sub Ensemble, writes and plays thoroughly modern music that also has strong roots in the jazz of the 1950s and ‘60s, and usually features interesting horn harmonies.
So it seems perfectly natural to bring D’Angelo and Fletcher together, and that is exactly what is happening.
Saxophonist D’Angelo and drummer Dan Weiss have flown in from New York to join the Mike Fletcher band for a few days’ rehearsal this week in preparation for Saturday’s CBSO Concert.
The Mike Fletcher Big Band EC WM Project is at 8pm, and tickets are on sale via www.thsh.co.uk.
Other good gigs this week include:
Tonight: The Blue Notes are at the Silvershine Jazz Club which is held at Bearwood Corks Club. Doors open at 8.30pm, entrance is £5 and there is more at www.bearwoodjazz.co.uk
Tomorrow: Start the evening at the Symphony Hall foyer bar for the Levi French Trio’s Jazzlines Free Jazz session at 5pm, then go on to either the Red Lion in the Jewellery Quarter for Birmingham Jazz’s Club Night with the Steve Tromans Trio, 8pm, entry £3 (free for members), more at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk, or to The Ort Cafe in Balsall Heath for saxophonist Sam Rogers and his band The Hospital Dodgers, 8.30pm, £5, more at www.blambirmingham.co.uk
Tuesday: The recently formed trio of alto saxophonist Chris Bowden, keyboard player Steve Tromans and drummer Miles Levin is turned into a quartet with the addition of baritone saxophonist Colin Mills, for the Jazz @ The Spotted Dog session, at the pub of the same name in Digbeth, starting at 9pm, entry free but donations encouraged, more at www.blambirmingham.co.uk
Wednesday: This is now the Stratford Jazz day of choice for its fortnightly gigs, and this week it’s the Dom Franks Strayhorn Quartet with Dom on saxophone, Alex Steele on piano, James Agg on bass and Matt Jones on drums. Franks is director of music at Rendcomb College and the band released an album called Native Tongues last year. Start time is 8pm, entrance is £8 on the door and there is more at www.stratfordjazz.org.uk