It’s the biggest of the big ones – the West Midlands’ greatest gift to jazz back here briefly and leading his greatest band.
Double bassist Dave Holland was born in Wolverhampton in 1946, snapped up for the Miles Davis band in 1968, and in this new century is the most critically acclaimed acoustic jazz group leader on the planet.
It is this band, his Quintet, that he brings to the Adrian Boult Hall on Sunday for the key concert in Birmingham Jazz’s 30th anniversary season.
There’s no space here for the full Holland biog – how he played with all the British greats in the 60s, how he then found himself in New York, wearing paisley and playing on Miles’s groundbreaking In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew albums, before producing a stunning solo double bass disc for the ECM label – so let’s concentrate on the present.
The Dave Holland Quintet has a relatively conventional instrumental line-up, but with a couple of tweaks: instead of the sax/trumpet front line, it’s sax/trombone, and instead of piano there are vibes.
The presence of the trombone of Robin Eubanks gives a lower overall sound, probably more attractive to a bass-player’s ears, and the vibes of Steve Nelson give spaciousness to the sound that a piano might over-fill.
If the overall sound of the band is just plain gorgeous, their tightness and telepathic interaction has to be heard to be believed – this is the benefit of a line-up relatively stable for the past ten years.
And then there are the players themselves, the band completed by Chris Potter on saxophones and Nate Smith on drums.
All are staggeringly good players, though my focus usually sharpens around Potter, who seems to me the pre-eminent saxophonist today, the man who has taken the modern sound and style rooted in Coltrane and passed through Shorter and Brecker, and added something new.
The Dave Holland Quintet take the ABH stage at 7.30pm on Sunday and tickets are #15 (#10) from 0121 303 2323. More info on birminghamjazz.co.uk
The other gig of note this week is the appearance of Brazilian actor/musician Seu Jorge at the Warwick Arts Centre on Saturday.
Jorge appeared in the gritty favela-centred film City of God, and went on to star in The Life Aquatic – his acoustic versions of David Bowie songs on the soundtrack are exquisite.
He recently was awarded the Bragger, my own invention for anyone who has a South Bank Show about them.
See the man in person from 8pm. Tickets at #17.50 are available from 024 7652 4524 or on www.warwickartscentre.co.uk
Also this week
Thursday: Blues duo Kenny and Kirsty at La Tasca tapas bar, off Broad Street. Part of the Crosstown Blues sessions, hosted by residents Paul Cowley and ChickenboneJohn. From 8.30pm and free.
Friday: Singer Lupa leads her band featuring Alfonso Deida at the Rush Hour Blues session in the Symphony Hall bar from 5.30pm. It’s free, but get there early if you want a seat.
Jazz at The Bonded Warehouse presents Bobby Wellins and the Archie Cotterill Trio from 7.30pm Admission #7. The Bonded Warehouse, Canal Street, Stourbridge.
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