Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, Aretha Franklin, Sam Rivers, Janis Joplin, Quincy Jones, Van Morrison, Charles Mingus, Anthony Braxton, King Curtis, Nina Simone, Max Roach, Nancy Wilson, Andrew White, Carmen McRae, Count Basie – what’s the connection?

The answer is that percussionist Warren Smith has played with all of them. And he will be playing with British musicians, including some from Birmingham Conservatoire , at the Hare And Hounds tonight (Thurs) from 8pm. Tickets are £10.

Chicago-born Smith moved to New York in 1957 when 52nd Street and the Harlem jazz scenes were still vibrant. He is a dedicated jazz educator and became a vital player/promoter in the Downtown loft scene in New York between the late 1960s and early 1990s.

And, in fact, Downtown New York Jazz is the subject of a Symposium in the Library of Birmingham from 10.30am to 4.30pm today. This is a free event.

Between these happenings, why not squeeze in a contradiction? Ugly Beauty is the name of a Thelonious Monk tune, and it’s also the name of a band dedicated to playing his music.

On trombone is Jeremy Price, on saxophone is Tony Kofi, and they are joined by pianist Liam Noble, double bassist Arnie Somogyi and drummer Clark Tracey. This is the final day of Monkathon, the playing of all Monk’s tunes over four days.

Ugly Beauty, both the tune and the band, can be heard in the Bramall Music Building foyer on the University of Birmingham campus between 5pm and 6.30pm today (Thursday). Entrance is free.

The Monkathon grand finale, featuring the above musicians plus others, will continue at The Yardbird later on and probably well into the night.

The symposium, the Monkathon and Warren Smith’s performance are all part of the Frontiers Festival, and you can find out more at

Jazz meets film in saxophonist Tom Harrison’s latest venture. With pianist Robert Mitchell, double bassist Larry Bartley and drummer David Lyttle, his Film Music Project takes famous film scenes and their musical soundtracks as its starting points, and then explores these from a jazz quartet perspective.

Due to multimedia demands, this Birmingham Jazz gig is not at the organisation’s usual haunt, but at another pub also renowned for its good beer: the Barton Arms in Aston .

It starts at 7.45pm, tickets are £14, and there is more at

Warwick Arts Centre has two double bill jazz gigs this week. Tonight TG Collective and the Remi Harris Trio bring the jazz and gypsy traditions together, while on Sunday there is a different mix of jazz and global sounds from Interplay and Sonrisa. Both events begin at 7.45pm, tickets for tonight (Thursday) are £12.50 and for Sunday £7.50, and you can find out more about both at

On Tuesday there’s a Can Of Worms in The Spotted Dog . The Can is led by saxophonist George Crowley with Tom Challenger also on saxophone, Dan Nicholls on piano, Sam Lasserson on double bass and Jon Scott on drums. The music starts at 9pm, and a collection will be taken. More on Jazz @ The Spotted Dog on Facebook.

Stratford Jazz welcomes the Nic Meier Quartet on Wednesday to The Chapel, No 1, Shakespeare Street, Stratford Upon Avon . Guitarist Meier is fresh from playing in Jeff Beck’s band at Symphony Hall. Tickets are £10, it starts at 8pm and there is more at

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