THERE aren’t enough trombone players around. It’s a thought that goes through the head at irregular intervals – in fact, on every rare occasion a trombonist does happen to be in the band.
And have you noticed that, if certain instruments seem to attract certain personalities, trombones always sound like they are being played by life’s optimists?
Think of Annie Whitehead, Dennis Rollins and Mark Nightingale.
Of course, that could have something to do with the sound of the instrument, too. Mournful it can manage on rare occasions, but gloomy? Never. And there is a strong sense of humour inherent in those sliding notes, too.
All this means that the ‘bone man from South Wales, Gareth Roberts, is a very welcome figure on the jazz scene, and he brings his Quintet to the Midlands on Friday. The band plays the Lichfield Guildhall from 8.30pm, and with Gareth will be pianist Paul Jones and trumpeter Gethin Liddington, with brothers Chris and Mark O’Connor on bass and drums.
Like many a brass player, Gareth cut his teeth with student brass bands but, having discovered jazz, he ditched the euphonium for the trombone and has studied with Paula Gardiner, Keith Tippett and Mark Bassey. He does a lot of education work, which means he knows how to entertain a crowd.
He also has impeccable taste – he declares his main compositional influence is Charles Mingus and his favourite trombonists are Jimmy Knepper and Carla Bley Band regular Gary Valente.
That was all revealed on his debut disc of a couple of years back: Attack Of The Killer Penguins.
Gareth has been able to put the current Quintet tour together due to support from the Jazz Services organisation.
Anyone who was at the Guildhall for the Arild Andersen Trio gig in November will know that Lichfield Arts maintains a high standard when it comes to live music, and this is a venue with character.
Tickets are £10 with concessions and half-price student tickets available, and you can find out more at lichfieldarts.org.uk
Other gigs this week:
Friday: Mark Goodchild Sextet – Mark is a double bass player in the CBSO, but has a special affection for jazz. Symphony Hall Foyer Bar, 5.30pm, free.
Sunday: Edgar Macias on piano with Tom Hill on bass and Neil Bullock on drums – Latin, American and British jazz for a relaxed afternoon at The Scarlet Pimpernel in Harbourne from 3pm, free. More on 0121 426 0930.
Sunday: Stratford Jazz has Django Reinhardt-inspired guitarists Paul Vernon Chester and Nick Mellor trading gipsy swing licks. It starts at 8pm at the White Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon. £5 on the door and more at stratfordjazz.org.uk