Tomorrow evening is one of those when the West Midlands feels more like London, or New York, or anywhere that presents just too much choice. There are gigs all over the place: gigs in concert halls, gigs in pubs, gigs featuring superstars and gigs featuring the under-exposed.

And that’s before we get to the festival!

Let’s start at Symphony Hall, where guitarist George Benson is grinning that sparkly smile, wrapping his still relatively honeyed larynx - he is 69! - around those soulful melodies and, most importantly, letting those fingers fly spontaneously and seemingly effortlessly all over the fretboard.

After being something of a golden boy in his early Benson comes in for quite a bit of stick from the jazz police for having taken the Nat King Cole route and smoothed out into the pop arena, but as soon as he heads out on one of those glorious plucked and sung solos the tut-tutting turns to oh-wowing instead.

And more recent recordings - he has made over 30 in all and garnered ten Grammys along the way - suggest his jazz inclinations are on the ascendancy once more. His latest is called Guitar Man, which says it all, really.

The show starts at 7.30pm, and includes special guest, trumpeter Christian Scott, which is another good reason to get along. Tickets and more information at

Meanwhile, over in Coventry, another jazz superstar, this time from much further south, is blowing his own trumpet.

Hugh Masekela, four years Benson’s senior, has just as much energy and style, and is equally adept at mixing considerable jazz chops and wisdom with a popular approach to the music. He is also a very fine singer.

He’ll be doing the Back2Black, River Of Music and Womad festivals later in the month, but catch him in the Warwick Arts Centre’s Butterworth Hall at 8pm tomorrow for what is bound to be a great show. He doesn’t really do any other kind.

Cellist and vocalist Ayannna is in support and you can find out more and book tickets at

If the intimate upstairs pub room with a fine pint in hand is more to your taste than the vast concert hall and a quickly snatched interval drink, you too are catered for tomorrow evening with Birmingham Jazz presenting an exceptionally fine band at the Red Lion in Warstone Lane in the Jewellery Quarter.

The Profiles Quartet pairs the saxophones of Chris Biscoe and Tony Kofi with Larry Bartley on bass and Stu Butterfield on drums.

As their name suggests the band has chosen to profile the music of jazz greats, and will be playing compositions by Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingus.

The gig starts at 7.45pm, tickets on the door. For more go to

And, of course, there is the festival - the Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival, to give it it’s new and more accurate title.

It runs from tomorrow to Sunday in Moseley Park and most of the jazz is on Sunday, both on the Main Stage with Soweto Kinch, the Neil Cowley Trio and Zoe Rahman Quartet on the bill, and with Jazzlines curating the smaller stage, and featuring Husk, Steve Ajao and the Miles Levin Quintet among others.

Before that let’s note these jazz-tinged outfits tomorrow and Saturday in amongst the funk and soul:

Maylight - Jazzlines’ Mary Wakelam on saxophone, Lizzy Parks on vocals, Jim Bashford on drums and a whole lot more in this contemporary jazz meets soul and electronica outfit.

They are on the Leftfoot Main Stage tomorrow evening.

Colman Brothers - Birmingham jazz regulars will know them better as Sara’s brothers, trombonist Matt and trumpeter Andrew bring some of that acid retro-cool to dance-jazz. They are on the Main Stage on Saturday.

Rotunda Of Wonder - Birmingham’s own Tower Of Power featuring loads of familiar faces from Sub Ensemble and elsewhere. They take the Yardbird Stage on Saturday.

The Mostly headliners include George Clinton and Parliament, Fred Wesley and the new JBs, The Family Stone and Roots Manuva.

Find out all about it at