Frantic Friday on the cards for Birmingham jazz fans
Friday evening is jam-packed for jazz-lovers, with an outstanding European band playing the early-evening session at the Symphony Hall foyer bar and Motown getting the Jazz Jamaica treatment in the Town Hall later on.
The Rush Hour session in the SH bar every Friday at 5.30pm is a constant in Birmingham’s jazz life that can very easily become taken for granted. It is remarkably eclectic in flavour while maintaining an exceptionally high quality, so a large ‘hurrah’ to co-promoters Symphony Hall and Birmingham Jazz.
This Friday, the boundaries are pushed in exemplary fashion by the Cologne-based quartet Shreefpunk, led by trumpeter Matthias Schriefl. That second part of the band’s name does indicate a certain anarchic spirit in the music, but don’t underestimate their jazz credentials.
Schriefl himself has played with everyone from Phil Woods, Lee Konitz and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band to the legendary Peter Brotzmann. The band’s new disc on the ACT label, Live In Koln, features guest Django Bates. A Rush Hour with a difference, then; as always, it’s exceptional value for money – all you pay for is your drink.
Schreefpunk are in the Symphony Hall foyer bar from 5.30pm to 7pm.
Jazz Jamaica is a star-studded outfit, with Gary Crosby on bass, Alex Wilson on piano, Denys Baptiste on tenor saxophone and Abram Wilson on trumpet. For their 50th anniversary tribute to Motown, the band wheels out its Motorcity Roots programme, with Zara McFarlane, Baby Sol and J’Nay adding the vocals.
Motown’s greatest hits are infectious enough but add the brilliantly conceived reggae-jazz of Jazz Jamaica and it really is impossible to witness this music sitting down.
Motorcity Roots is at the Town Hall, Birmingham, from 7.30pm on Friday. Tickets are £16.50 and £18.50, available from thsh.co.uk or by calling 0121 780 3333.
Excellent news on the free jazz front (that’s “free” as in unstructured, although the cost of entry is modest) is that Frimp is back up and running.
These occasional sessions, organised by saxophonist Bruce Coates, had been having venue problems but have found an appropriate home at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath.
This month’s Frimp session (it’s short for free improvisation) is on Wednesday at 8pm and features saxophonist Paul Dunmall and drummer Paul Hession, with Coates, Mike Hurley and Trevor Lines.
Finally, if you don’t fancy Friday in Birmingham, head for Derby’s Darwin Suite and Printmakers, a band comprising Nikki Iles on piano, Mike Walker on guitar, Steve Watts on bass, Mark Lockheart on saxophone, Jeff Williams on drums and Norma Winstone on vocals. It’s part of a Jazz Services tour and well worth the journey. More at www.derby-jazz.co.uk