There's no doubt about it - this is the age of the singer. Go back ten years and although some of the big names of today were starting out - think Diana Krall, Stacey Kent and Claire Martin - no one had heard of Gwyneth Herbert, Clare Teal, Jamie Cullum, Karryn Allison, never mind Norah Jones.
While there are far more singers - or their publicists - claiming to be jazz singers, there are a precious few who are the real deal. Birmingham's prime candidate for jazz singer of the moment, Esther Miller, gets an ideal opportunity to show her quality at the MAC on Saturday.
She's been working hard in clubs and pubs around the land but has rarely had a chance to work a theatre audience and to luxuriate in the warmer acoustics of a venue such as MAC.
She has the most sympathetic frontline partner in trumpeter Bryan Corbett whose lyrical playing and romantic tone sets a singer off a treat.
Completing the band are pianist and musical director Gerry Spencer, bassist Zoltan Dekani and the ubiquitous Neil Bullock on drums.
Esther Miller was born and raised in Port Elizabeth, South Africa's east coast motor city, where she sang in church and school choirs and raided the family Nat King Cole albums for early inspiration.
She studied medicine in Cape Town, but gave in to the lure of jazz. In a wonderfully back-handed compliment, her alma mater, the University of Cape Town, reflected: "Giving up medicine in favour of Jazz was clearly a wise move."
In South Africa she has worked with some excellent players, including guitarist Johnny Fourie and saxophonist Winston Mankunku.
But now she's settled in Birmingham. The hospital patients and jazz club regulars of Cape Town are most definitely the losers.
Esther has honed her technique with classical singing lessons and delved into jazz history to take her inspiration from Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Blossom Dearie as well as the jazz/pop of Frank and Nat.
She has been a Birmingham International Jazz Festival regular for the past three years and also appeared last year at the Cork International Jazz Festival in Ireland.
She has two albums out, 1999's Say Hello To Esther and 2002' s Invitation.
Esther believes in the good oldfashioned concept of touring, and probably knows the motorways and A-roads of this country a lot better than she would like.
The Esther Miller Quintet are at MAC from 8pm on Saturday. Tickets are £9 (£6) from 0121 440 3838.
Also recommended this week: Tonight: Iain Ballamy at the Old Brown Jug, Bridge Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, 07751 964 815 Tomorrow: Andy Hamilton and the Blue Notes at the Bearwood Corks Club, Bearwood, 0121 429 2091 Friday: Brenda Scott Quintet at the Symphony Hall bar, Commuter jazz from 5.30pm, then across to Coventry and the Belgrade Theatre Caf> for a little funk from One Nation with Simon Hayden from 10.30pm. Saturday: If you fancy a bit of a drive, MYJO do their Sinatra Tribute night at The Stardust Rooms in Bardon, Coalville, Leicestershire, 0116 270 2193.
Sunday: The New Washboard Syncopators are at the Solihull British Legion in Union Road, Solihull from 1pm, or head for the Kilkenney Inn in Andoversford for something called "civilised lunchtime jazz"! from JB2. I shall leave the rest to your imagination.
Tuesday: It's duo jazz to stay at Starbucks Coffee Shop in Martineau Place. The Ralph Allin Duo play cappuccino-frothing stuff from 3.30pm.