“The autumn leaves float by my window, those autumn leaves of red and gold…”
Well, not quite yet, we hope – let’s try to get a little summer in first.
But autumn features strongly in jazz and the season of mellow fruitfulness is always bursting with jazz deliciousness.
The Birmingham Jazz programme for the autumn has been released and features a wide range of players from some of the most illustrious veterans to creative youngsters just starting out.
For free jazz fans and those with an eye on jazz history, November 28 and December 1 should be added to the diary now.
The former date is a chance to hear two great names long resident in the US avant-garde’s hall of fame: bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Andrew Cyrille.
They are two thirds of the Profound Sound Trio with slightly younger British saxophonist Paul Dunmall, and they were first brought together at the Vision Festival in New York as part of a Birmingham Jazz commission.
The latter date is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear a duo of two true jazz greats: saxophonist Lee Konitz and drummer Rashied Ali.
Konitz is the grandest of the grand old men of jazz with a career that stretches back to Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool sessions; Ali is best known for his work with John Coltrane near the end of the saxophonist’s career and when he was at his most adventurous.
So, for those who never had a chance to hear Miles and Trane, here is an opportunity to make a connection to those giants, and for those who have heard Konitz and Ali before, well, you know how special this is likely to be.
Before all that, other gigs to look out for in the Birmingham Jazz autumn schedule include Outhouse Ruhabi and the Tord Gustavsen Quartet.
I first heard Outhouse Ruhabi at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in 2008 and was knocked out by this fruitful amalgam of a young London jazz quartet with a double saxophone frontline and Wolof drummers from The Gambia in West Africa. It’s all masterminded by Outhouse drummer Dave Smith.
The appearance of the word Quartet after the name Tord Gustavsen comes as a bit of a shock, but it’s an exciting one. After half a decade of recording and playing in a strict piano trio format, the Norwegian pianist and composer has added a saxophonist, Tore Bronborg, and there is also a change in the bass chair, with Mats Eilertson now in.
Outhouse Ruhabi are at the CBSO Centre on October 9 and the Tord Gustavsen Quartet are at the same venue on October 17.
Young Birmingham jazz musicians also feature in the autumn programme with the Morgan Brothers playing The Jam House on September 15 and Sam Wooster leading a quartet at The Rainbow on October 28.
For full details of all these gigs, keep an eye on birminghamjazz.co.uk
* Peter Bacon