Peter Bacon rounds up the latest Midlands jazz news...
The cinema and jazz have always had a close relationship, though all too often it?s Hollywood directors taking the easy way to give their filmstar-heavy, atmosphere-thin films a cool ambience by sticking some jazz in the background.
More integrated and rewarding collaborations between film-makers and jazz musicians are possible, however, whether it?s Duke Ellington?s soundtrack for Otto Preminger?s Anatomy Of A Murder or Andre Previn?s music for The Subterranean, or Robert Altman?s Kansas City,where, unfortunately, the jazz was much better than the film.
Live performance of music to aid and accompany film has made a comeback in recent years with whole orchestras assembled to perform in front of silent films to packed concert halls.
Jazz in Birmingham gets its chance on Saturday evening, when the French double bassist Henri Texier brings his trio and Strada Sextet to town for a concert of what is likely to be two equally rewarding halves.
In the first, with his son Sebastien on saxophones and Christophe Marguet on drums, he will perform the music he composed and the trio will improvise in front of a film made in 1970 by the director Jean-Louis Bertucelli, called Remparts d?Argile.
The film shows life in a village in the Algerian-Tunisian Sahara, and the director claims his style of making it was a jazz one ? theme and improvisation. He intended it to have no soundtrack and kept the dialogue to an almost non-existent minimum.
The French bassist had collaborated on some other Bertucelli films and his music for this one consists of a live performance which does not take the place of the film?s soundtrack but weaves in and out of it.
For the second half, the two Texiers and Marguet will be joined by Francois Corneloup, trombonist Gueorgui Kornazov and guitarist Manu Codjia to play music from the sextet?s new album (V)ivre, released on Label Bleu, as is Remparts d?Argile.
Alongside the rich sound and authoritative stature of Texier pere, Sebastien?s clarinet and saxophone have an incredible evocative sound. Henri gives the drums a prominent place in his music too, and although Marguet is not on the original trio recording, his work on the sextet disc is electrifying in its mixture of energy and control.
Codjia is something of a chameleon as a guitarist, with some strong leanings in the Bill Frisell direction. The rich palette of tones and timbres the bandleader has in a frontline of alto and baritone saxophones and trombone gives him all the cinematic scope he requires, even if there isn?t an actual film showing during the sextet set. That film will just have to play in the minds of the audience.
Henri Texier is a major player in French jazz and he earned his stripes in the 1960s playing alongside American expats like Dexter Gordon and Bud Powell as well as absorbing North African influences from the part of Paris where he lived. This is rare chance to see an exceptionally exciting band led by a master musician who, perhaps better than anyone else, has reminded us all that the original ?world music? is in fact jazz.
The Henri Texier Trio and Sextet play the CBSO Centre on Saturday at 8pm, courtesy of Birmingham Jazz. Tickets are #10 (#7.50) from 0121 767 4050.
Switch the desert of North Africa for the sophistication of a place like Hasbrook Heights in New Jersey, and you have the music of Burt Bacharach and, if you can believe webchat, the nearby home of Stevie Wonder.
These two great 20th century composers are celebrated by singers Ian Shaw and Claire Martin on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Alhambra Members Club, above the Oneten bar in Colmore Row.
For sophisticated nightclub entertainment in the classic style it would be difficult to find a better double act than Shaw and Martin, and with songbooks as fat as those of Bacharach and Wonder how could they miss?
The evenings are called, naturally-The Wonder of Bacharach, and start at 8pm. Tickets are #15 and need to be booked in advance from Joel Wata on 0121 236 1110 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oneten is at 110 Colmore Row, Birmingham.
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