Monocled Man is no Edwardian smarty-pants, but instead is the name of a jazz trio comprising trumpeter Rory Simmons, guitarist Chris Montague and drummer Jon Scott.

Simmons is part of the contemporary big band Fringe Magnetic, while Montague is familiar from Troyka and Scott is in Kairos stet.

They have an album out as Monocled Man on Whirlwind Recordings and are playing at The Hare And Hounds in Kings Heath tonight (Thursday). The gig begins at 8.30pm, tickets are £8 and this is a Jazzlines production. For more information go to


As mid-summer gently passes it seems we’re into Moonlight Saving Time. At least that is the evocative name of singer Emily Wright’s band which plays for Birmingham Jazz at The Red Lion tomorrow (Friday).

According to the pre-publicity, Wright’s group “offers a fresh take on the jazz repertoire. Including influences from drum and bass, latin and classical music”.

Moonlight Saving Time has already played a number of festivals, including Brecon, Cheltenham and Jez Nelson featured their debut EP on his BBC Radio 3 Jazz on 3 programme. The band is completed by Nick Malcolm on trumpet, Dale Hambridge on piano, Will Harris on bass and Mark Whitlam on drums.

Their BJ gig starts at 7.45pm, tickets are £12 and there is more at


I’m sure there will come a time when Simon Spillett will tire of being compared to the great British tenor saxophonist that he sometimes seems to be the reincarnation of, Tubby Hayes, but that time probably hasn’t quite been reached, though Spillett is sounding increasingly like his own man these days.

His appearance at Symphony Hall’s cafe bar as par of the Jazzlines Free series at 5pm tomorrow (Friday) is a real treat for fans of acoustic mainstream jazz. Spillett has bags of knowledge, great technical reserves and a big spirit.

That spirit will resound right through the multi-storeyed space of the SH foyer. Entry is free and the session takes the form of two sets, ending around 6.30pm. More at


They were a sure fire hit in January, so they’ve been welcomed back: the Conservatoire Jazz Composers’ Orchestra will be at The Jam House on Tuesday. This collaborative big band offers jazz students the chance to try their hand at composing and arranging for a bigger arsenal of instruments and always throws up some unexpected excitement.

The band is on from 8.30pm, and this too has free entry. More at


The isolated gigs are beginning to tail off as we reach the summer break, but we all know what that means: it’s festival time. Birmingham has to wait a little while for the big guns, but there are a few appetisers a few miles north at the Lichfield Festival which runs from July 4 to 13.

Catering for the mainstream vocal fans is Clare Teal paying tribute to the jazz/pop divas like Peggy Lee, Doris Day and Judy Garland (Lichfield Cathedral, July 4), appealing to the jazz/classical crossover crowd is Jan Garbarek with the Hilliard Ensemble (Lichfield Cathedral, July 10) and mixing up jazz with ska, reggae and calypso are Courtney Pine and his House Of Legends band (Lichfield Garrick, July 12). More about all these events at