Sure, we have the occasional jazz gig in my hometown, this small cathedral city just north of Birmingham which no one down south has heard of, and which precious few Brummies have ever visited. There is Lichfield Arts’ Jazz & Blues Festival which was revived last June and will be happening again this June; there is the odd jazz concert as part of the Lichfield Festival in July. But, for the past few years, that has been about it.
Now, not one but two series of monthly jazz gigs have been announced for 2016, and there is also a special film/concert in March. And most of them are on that much neglected jazz night of the week: Wednesday.
The man who is fast turning into Lichfield’s most famous jazz son, Nick Dewhurst, is responsible for the first set of gigs, so adding the label promoter to the ones he already has: trumpeter, band leader, composer, arranger, teacher and community force for good.
The venue is the George IV pub in Bore Street in the city centre, and the dates are as follows:
- Wednesday 20 January: Nick Dewhurst Band
- Wednesday 17 February: Callum Roxburgh Orchestra
- Wednesday 16 March: Imperial Strut
Nick is intending to keep programming bands on the third Wednesday of the month.
- For more information and to keep updated about Jazz at the George IV, go to the Facebook page here.
Meanwhile, Lichfield’s Garrick Theatre has introduced some serious jazz into its programme, and again Wednesday is the evening of choice, with the venue the theatre’s more intimate studio space. The accent so far is on bands from down south or even from across the Atlantic in the case of singer Christine Tobin and guitarist Phil Robson, recently relocated from Kent to New Jersey!
- Wednesday 13 January: Christine Tobin’s A Thousand Kisses Deep
- Wednesday 17 February: Partikel’s String Theory
- Tuesday 15 March: Phil Robson’s Organ Trio
There are more monthly gigs in place for the following months with featured musicians including Ant Law and Theo Jackson, and there is an added jazz gig this month with the Remi Harris Trio playing on Friday 29 January.
- For more about all these gigs and Jazz at The Garrick, go here.
And then thre is the film/concert. This is presented by Those Old Records, a record shop in nearby Rugeley, and it has the suitably retro title of Jazz Goes Mod! The subject of both film and concert is Brian “Tubby” Hayes, the extraordinary saxophonist who, from his first professional gig at the age of 15 to his death at 38, set the British jazz world alight.
There is a new film about him made by Mark Baxter and Lee Cogswell and called A Man In A Hurry, which will be screened and the current keeper of the Tubby Hayes flame, another extraordinary saxophonist Simon Spillett will be on hand with his band to play live. Spillett is also Hayes’s biographer. This is all happening in Lichfield at The Village in Lower Sanford Street from 7.30pm on Friday 18 March.
- Tickets and booking is here, or from Those Old Records in Rugeley or The Village in Lichfield.