Jazz fusion is back – the Fender Rhodes pianos are topped by synths, the basses are popping, the saxophones have that R ‘n’ B edge, the singers are soulful with some gospel thrown in, and the guitars are muted in Shaft-styled rhythmic percussion.
The fashionable sound of 2006 has a lot of 1976 in it, and reworking the old stuff in a new way for the last Rush Hour Blues session of the year is a band led by Peter Daley.
Peter has strong Birmingham links, academically as well as through working with Black Voices and the CBSO, and he brings a lot of familiar Birmingham players into the mix on his new CD, Apart From Life, just released on Another Key Records.
Players include Mike Fletcher, Carl Stanley and Ed Johnston on saxophones, bassists Ryan Trebilcock, Ian Reid and Drew Campbell, trumpeter Ray Butcher, drummer Miles Levin and many more.
Peter himself, plays keyboards, composes, arranges, samples and produces.
There is a wide range to the styles on the disc, from tunes which have an urban soul feel, to Yellowjackets type crossover work-outs, to relatively straight, strongly acoustic jazz tunes.
There is an irrepressible funky cheer to this music which lifts the spirit and moves the feet.
Hear Peter Daley in person at the Symphony Hall foyer bar on Friday from 5.30pm for free – and I’m sure you’ll have a chance to buy Apart From Life to take home afterwards. More on peterdaley.com
Jazz Coventry winds up the year in fine form on Thursday with the man who gave mainstream a good name: Scott Hamilton.
The tenor saxophonist who keeps the pre-Coltrane flag waving in the breeze plays the Biggin Hall Pub with John Pearce on piano, Mike Janisch on bass and Steve Brown on drums.
This is a lovely intimate room and to hear the warm, breathy tenor of Hamilton up close is sure to be something really special.
Turning up on the night without booking in advance will not be a wise move, so call Coventry Tourist Information Centre on 024 7622 7264 now.
The Biggin Hall is in Binley Road, CV3 1HG if you need to key it into the satnav. It begins at 8.30pm and costs #11.
On Sunday evening, head for Shakespeare country, but swerve at the last minute to stop at the White Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Here you’ll catch an end-of-year special featuring the star-studded line-up of Chris Bowden on saxophone, Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Edgar Macias on piano, Arnie Somogyi on bass and Tony Levin on drums.
Tickets are #6 from Roy on 01789 298607.
Before that there’s another Christmas party, this time at the Waterworks Jazz Club on Saturday evening from 8pm.
You might have to bring your own party hat and dancing shoes, but Dave Donohoe’s New Orleans Jazz Band will do the rest. The band includes Frank Booker on reeds and a repertoire than ranges from New Orleans marches to Country and Western – the mind boggles. Tickets are now available on 0121 445 5668 and there’s more info on www.waterworksjazz.com
Finally, if you have ever read the jazz CD reviews in The Observer newspaper you will be familiar with the name of Dave Gelly. He puts his saxophone where is mouth is on Sunday for the free session at the Green Room in Birmingham. Dave has played with bands ranging from Kenny Baker’s Half Dozen to the Jack Bruce band. The music at the Green Room in Hurst Street starts at 7pm.
On Wednesday, Paul Cowley & the TTS and ChickenboneBlues featuring Dave Smith (harp) are at La Tasca, Regency Wharf, off Broad Street. It starts at 8.30pm and entrance is free.