There are two great gigs marked on the calendar this week. One is the mature folk/jazz trio Quercus at Warwick Arts Centre on Monday and the other is the brilliant young saxophonist Marius Neset at the mac on Wednesday.
Quercus is singer June Tabor, pianist Huw Warren and saxophonist Iain Ballamy, and last time they played together in the Midlands was at the mac in 2006. It remains a rich memory for me, reignited by listening to an album recorded at the end of that tour and only just released on the ECM label (reviewed elsewhere in this paper).
Quercus are at Warwick Arts Centre on Monday at 7.30pm, tickets are £15.50. More information at www.warwickartscentre.co.uk
Neset, a young Norwegian who studied in Copenhagen with Django Bates and became a key player in his stoRMChaser band, is an astonishing saxophonist, and if his debut album on Edition Records, Golden Xplosion, was a fine start, his follow-up, Birds, is mind-blowing.
He uses the Anglo-Scandinavian trio Phronesis as his band on the album and this is the group he is now touring with.
The Marius Neset Quartet is at the mac on Wednesday at 8pm. This is a Jazzlines gig and you can find out more at thsh.co.uk and at www.macarts.co.uk. Tickets are £12.
Before all that, tomorrow is trumpet Friday. Start out at the Symphony Hall Cafe Bar at 5pm, where Ray Butcher leads a quintet. They will be playing some familiar jazz classics interspersed with some Butcher originals. This is a Jazzlines gig, more at www.thsh.co.uk
From there head over to the Red Lion in Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, for the similarly-instrumented Andy Hague band. The gig starts at 7.45pm, it’s a Birmingham Jazz one, and tickets are £10 on the door. More at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk
If it’s the guitar rather than the trumpet that rocks your socks off, then head for the Ort Cafe instead tomorrow. There the Neil C Young Trio – Neil on guitar, his brother Richard on drums and Alan Whitham on bass – will be doing their thing, with guest fourth member Steve Tromans on piano.
The trio is from the North-west, though the Youngs studied at Birmingham Conservatoire, which is where they met Tromans. The music starts at 8.30pm and tickets are £5 on the door. More at www.ortcafe.co.uk
Finally, the Jonathan Silk Ensemble – all 12 of them – pack into The Spotted Dog on Tuesday, from 9pm. A donation of £5 is recommended, and that’s a bargain. More at www.blambirmingham.co.uk