The New York downtown scene goes from strength to strength and its newest shining stars are in town tomorrow evening.

Back in 2001 from among the pile of new CD releases waiting to be reviewed, one jumped up and bit me with its fresh soundscapes and highly developed compositions as well as electrifying playing.

It was on the German ACT label but the leader was New York alto player David Binney.

This disc, South, and its successor Balance the next year, featured largish bands with Uri Caine at the piano.

Loads of other work has followed and Binney has a new disc out, this time on the Criss Cross label and called Bastion of Sanity.

Last seen in Birmingham as part of Joel Harrison?s Free Country band, Binney is now touring a quartet, and the really exciting news in my house is that on piano is Craig Taborn.

Taborn was already playing with James Carter while still at college, and has also made records with Roscoe Mitchell and toured here with Tim Berne.

Those names suggest he has the right avant garde credentials, but Taborn really is emerging in his own right as a major new voice on piano and other keyboards.

His solos have a harmonic complexity and originality that is spell-binding on disc but really lifts you out of your seat in a live situation.

The combination of Binney?s alto and tunes with Taborn?s incisive input is sure to make this a gig to remember. It?s the band?s only UK date as part of their European tour, so full marks to Tony Dudley-Evans and Birmingham Jazz for getting them here.

With Thomas Morgan on bass and Dan Weiss on drums, the David Binney Quartet plays the mac, Cannon Hill Park, from 8pm tomorrow evening. Tickets: #10 (#7 BJ members and concessions) and you can book on 0121 440 3838.

On Friday it?s the turn of the Birmingham downtown scene and the Frank Moon Quintet for the Rush Hour concert at Symphony Hall. The band also features Scottish trumpeter Phil Cardwell, Ryan Trebilcock on bass and Miles Levin on drums.

Be in the Symphony Hall foyer bar early to get a good seat. The music starts at 5.30pm and it?s free. But you knew that.

On Monday evening return to Symphony Hall and go down on bended knees before the box office, pleading for a returns ticket to see not just a singer but a true legend: Tony Bennett.

He?s been many times over the last decade and if the voice is no longer what it was in its prime, the singer behind it is ever wiser and more insightful when it comes to the great American songbook that he has championed for what seems like centuries.

The sold-out signs are up, but wave your #35 in the air and, if necessary, weep and wail. Surely someone will take pity on you.

Other gigs to brighten your week: Tonight: Peter King at the Old Brown Jug, Newcastle-Under-Lyme; Tomorrow: Jazz Voices at the Bearwood Corks Club, Bearwood; Saturday: Marlene Verplanck and her trio at Hanley Castle High School, Upton-on-Severn; Sunday: Ian Royle Jazz Five, lunchtime at the Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford; Monday: The Brian Newton Big Band at the BullIs Head in Kings Norton.

News and views by email, please, to pl_bacon@yahoo.co.uk