Links between the The Edge, the intrepid arts centre in the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, and ECM, the characterful German jazz record label, are developing nicely. As a result, on Sunday the Mathias Eick Quartet from Norway play here as part of a UK tour.
The trumpeter is very much a rising star. Having been part of the jazz-rock band Jaga Jazzist, he went on to do many sessions with groups in the ECM stable, including Manu Katche’s on the sublime album Playground.
Last year made his debut on ECM as a leader with The Door, which placed his richly delicate, whisper-in-your-ear trumpet playing centre stage. From a land which has produced some stunning trumpeters, including Nils Petter Molvaer and Arve Henriksen, Eick’s sound is surely one of the loveliest.
He doesn’t just do the quiet stuff, either – his quartet is capable of building to white hot intensity, and I suspect they do even more of that in concert than in the recording studio.
Eick recently won a prestigious prize from the by:Larm Music Festival which is enabling him to take on this tour, the first of many around the world.
The Mathias Eick Quartet play The Edge in Much Wenlock on Sunday at 8pm. Tickets are £12/£10 from 01952 728509 and there is more information at edgeartscentre.co.uk
Players just starting down the jazz road are what you can hear at the CBSO Centre on Saturday.
Birmingham Jazz may be best known for its promotion of the best players in the business, but it also does vital work in education via its Creative Futures project.
Working with a number of schools around Birmingham, a team of musician/educationists led by Sid Peacock has been encouraging these young players to dip their toes in the choppy waters of improvisation.
Following a day of workshops for the players, there is a Family Concert at 4pm, when we can hear what they have learned.
There will be performances from groups ranging from small combos to the Creative Big Band, and also a set from Birmingham Jazz Youth Group, the longest-serving members of the education project who have progressed to writing and arranging their own material.More information is at birminghamjazz.co.uk
Other gigs this week:
Tonight: Kenny G at Symphony Hall, 7.30pm (more at thsh.co.uk) and Partisans, co-led by guitarist Phil Robson and saxophonist Julian Siegel, are at Warwick Arts Centre (more at warwickartscentre.co.uk).
Tomorrow: Sara Colman and her Quartet with Chris Bowden added on saxophone replace the advertised Levi French Trio at the Jam House from 9.30pm. It’s free.
Thursday: The Bristol-based band, The Luna-tics, led by saxophonist James Morton, are at Biggin Hall pub in Coventry.
*?Peter’s blog is at thejazzbreakfast.wordpress.com