We haven’t heard nearly enough of the trumpeter Guy Barker over the past few years.
His last album, Soundtrack, on the Provocateur label, and featuring some extremely classy international musicians, was a stunner and the band in concert showed just how exciting straight-ahead modern jazz can be.
The problem is that was all six years ago now. The good news is that Guy Barker is back in the Midlands, though still not as sole leader.
The band comes with the rather long-winded title of the Guy Barker, Alan Barnes & Dave Newton Quintet, but when you have three such saleable names I suppose it’s understandable to headline them all (though why not go the whole hog and namecheck bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Ralph Salmins as well?)
Expect some hotter than pepper sauce hard bop and some sultry ballads – both Barker’s trumpet and Barnes’ saxophone find hot comes more naturally than cool – all decorated with some of the most artful piano in the business from Newton.
The band might be best heard in a club situation, but the fairly intimate theatre at the Warwick Arts Centre will just have to do.
It’s tonight at 7.45pm, tickets #12 (#10) from 024 7652 4524 or online at www.warwickartscentre.co.uk – and this is a Jazz Coventry gig.
On Friday, the ever-so-cheerful Sugar Beats cure those Rush Hour Blues in the Symphony Hall foyer bar from 5.30pm.
One of my hot tips for 2007, Sugar Beats like to do things in pairs – whether it be trumpeters, saxophonists or drummers. Add in the propulsion of bass and some strong keyboards and you have a pretty intoxicating mix.
Co-hosted by Birmingham Jazz and Symphony Hall, ways to start the weekend don’t get much more ideal than this.
On Saturday, also courtesy of Jazz Coventry, the Carol Grimes Band will be doing their thing at Taylor John’s House in Coventry Canal Basin.
Carol started out singing blues and soul in the 1960s and those influences are still strong in her modern more jazzy repertoire.
Her band comprises Dorian Ford on keyboards, Max de Wardener on bass and Dave Bitelli on saxophones.
It starts at 9pm and tickets are #8 on the door.
The Drum follows up a fine Saturday night performance by Zoe Rahman (see page13) with an appearance by the much in-demand singer and songwriter Eska Mtungwazi in the Live Box on Sunday. The singer floats between jazz and R ‘n’ B bringing a fresh approach to both.
Live Box happens every Sunday in the Drum’s music studio from 7.45pm. Entrance is #5 (#3) and for more information call 0121 333 2444 or go to www.the-drum.org.uk
* News and views by email, please, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for the blog: www.thejazzbreakfast.blogspot.com