The highlight of the week's jazz calendar is over in Coventry on Sunday, with a visit to Warwick Arts Centre from the Simon Spillett Quintet.
The tenor saxophonist is presenting the band’s Standards Of Miles Davis programme, with Henry Lowther on trumpet, John Critchinson on piano, Dave Green on double bass and Trevor Tomkins on drums.
This is something of a British jazz supergroup and it will be fascinating to hear how they work with the same kind of Broadway song material that Miles and his band bent to their own purposes back in the 1960s.
It’s also a band of players that go way back, having deep roots in the British jazz scene and vast experience, all led by one of the liveliest and most charismatic of the younger mainstream players.
Jazz Coventry is going through some tough times at the moment and in addition to having funding difficulties it has also been struggling to find a suitable pub home in the area.
In the meantime, they are working with Warwick Arts Centre to keep jazz alive in the city, so do support them if you can.
The Simon Spillett Quintet plays in the WAC studio from 7.45pm on Sunday. Tickets from www.warwickartscentre.co.uk or on 024 7652 4524. And if you have any good ideas for a pub venue for future Jazz Coventry gigs, visit www.jazzcov.co.uk
* Friday is always a good night for jazz in Birmingham and tomorrow is no exception. Start out straight after work with the Chris Bowden Quartet in the Symphony Hall cafe bar from 5pm.
With one of the most exciting and soulful alto players in the business is Steve Tromans on piano, Ben Markland on bass and Neil Bullock on drums. This is in the Jazzlines Free Jazz series.
From there it’s the choice of heading north or south. North gets you the Elliot Drew Quartet at the Red Lion in the Jewellery Quarter; south is the Chris Young Sextet at the Ort Cafe.
Elliot Drew plays alto saxophone and is a Birmingham Conservatoire student. He writes the band’s material and has excellent support from pianist Andrew Woodhead, double bassist Hamish Livingstone and drummer Jonathan Silk. This Birmingham Jazz gig starts at 7.45pm.
Chris Young also plays alto, and has a Birmingham Conservatoire background, but his band has a more intriguing line-up. He incorporates electric guitar, vibes and voice into the front line, and his original material makes full use of these textures. The Ort Cafe gig starts at 8.30pm.
* Don’t forget, there is always jazz on Sunday evenings at The Cross in Moseley, courtesy of David Austin Grey and Jazz Shark, and on Tuesday evenings at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth, courtesy of Mike Fletcher and Jazz @ The Spotted Dog. The best way to keep up with both evenings is via facebook.
* Finally, the first three recipients of a Jazzlines Fellowship were announced at a special reception at Town Hall last Thursday. They are Dan Nicholls, Lluis Mather and Percy Pursglove.
These awards, supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, offer mentoring, advice and masterclasses, as well as assistance with artistic development through visits and high profile performance opportunities. At the end of the 12 months, the Fellows will have created new compositions, showcased their work as part of the Jazzlines programme and developed plans to tour nationally.