If you were at minimalist composer Steve Reich’s Radio Rewrite concert at Town Hall last night, you were very lucky; if you couldn’t get in, never mind, there are other Reich-linked events in town this week.
Two Jazzlines gigs pick up the theme quite naturally because Reich was influenced by the jazz he heard in New York in the 1960s.
This evening at the Bramall Music Building on the University of Birmingham campus, bassist Chris Mapp unveils a new band and some strong Reich links. The band is called Buzzoig and features the eminent British saxophonist Iain Ballamy along with trumpeter Sam Wooster and drummer Tymoteusz Jozwiak.
Mapp says: “ Reich’s new work is inspired by the music of Radiohead; continuing on this theme, Buzzoig will play music inspired by Reich, and Radiohead as well as some of their influences.
Buzzoig play from 5pm and entry is free.
Also in the Jazzlines Reich Influences strand, saxophonist Mike Fletcher leads an octet looking again at John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass album and feeding both that music and Steve Reich’s influence (Reich frequently went to hear Coltrane in the New York clubs) into some new music of his own.
This is part of the Jazzlines Free Jazz series at Symphony Hall cafe bar, which also starts at 5pm and is also free.
More about both these gigs at www.thsh.co.uk
No Reich on Saturday, but there is still a mallet instrument to maintain a tenuous link. It’s played by Jim Hart, vibes player in the Neon Quartet, which also features Stan Sulzmann, keyboard player Kit Downes and drummer Tim Giles.
The Neon Quartet has a recent album, Subjekt, out on Edition Records, and it’s filled with strong writing and playing.
Sulzmann may be the granddaddy of the band, but, as we all know, jazz gives its players eternal youth in terms of demanding fresh ideas and living in the moment.
Stan has what the late Richard Cook called a “tough but malleable post-Coltrane style” and it fits in superbly with the vibrant young players in this band.
And on to another saxophonist, Art Themen, who has been at the heart of British jazz for as long as Sulzmann (and that means the 1960s!), and he is the special guest at The Spotted Dog on Tuesday as part of an occasional collaboration between programmers Mike Fletcher of Jazz @ The Spotted Dog and Jazzlines.
Themen, like Sulzmann a tenor specialist, is best known for his role in the small bands of Stan Tracey. Music from 9pm and donations warmly received. Find out more at Jazz @ The Spotted Dog on facebook or on www.blambirmingham.co.uk.
Other good gigs this week:
Tomorrow: Shatner’s Bassoon at The Ort Cafe from 8.30pm. For more see the review of their album, here.
Sunday: Birmingham Jazz offers singer Gabrielle Ducomble with guitarist Nicolas Meier in the band. Expect a mix of American standards and French chanson. From 7.45pm, entry £10 on the door at the Red Lion in Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter. More at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk
Wednesday: Stratford Jazz has another formidable tenor saxophonist, this time Simon Spillett, fronting the John Patrick Trio. From 8pm, £10 on the door at No 1 Shakespeare Street, Stratford-upon-Avon. More at www.stratfordjazz.org.uk.