The big gig this week places a real game changer in US jazz on the same bill as a fresh young UK outfit working to renew a venerable tradition.
The US jazz star is pianist Robert Glasper, the UK outfit is the Beats & Pieces Big Band and they are at Warwick Arts Centre tonight.
Glasper has a wildly eclectic CV which includes working with Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove and Russell Malone but also with Mos Def, Q-Tip and Kanye West, Erykah Badu and Jay-Z.
He brings all those influences into his own band, a tight quartet with Derrick Hodge and Mark Colenburg on bass and drums, and Casey Benjamin crucially switching between saxophone and vocoder.
Expect to hear Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit not only with processed vocals but also with a hip-hop beat.
Glasper is the latest in a long line of artists from Miles Davis on to dismiss the jazz word and, like that long line, he is undoubtedly bringing new listeners to a music that has always been much more eclectic and open than its detractors would have the world believe.
The big band has undergone its own fair share of development, and has always been a bit of a two-headed monster, with Benny Goodman inspiring acrobatic dancing from pumped up kids while Duke Ellington had more sophisticated heads nodding in glamorous clubs.
Since then the Ellington model and the use of the “jazz orchestra” moniker has been more the thing.
In way Beats & Pieces, which grew out of a Manchester jazz students’ get-together, unites the two strands, with the academic background and some of the charts suggesting the jazz orchestra side, while the use of modern beats and influences reintroduces the good-time ambience to the whole affair.
And what links these two groups is not just being on the same bill - they have also both covered Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place. Which can’t be bad.
The Robert Glasper Experiment and Beats & Pieces Big Band are at Warwick Arts Centre this evening from 7.45pm. Booking is at www.warwickartscentre.co.uk or call 024 7652 4524.
For another big gig of the week, you need to head west to The Edge Arts Centre at Much Wenlock, where the Julian Siegel Quartet is playing music from last year’s lovely Urban Theme Park album.
Siegel is one of the most affecting and substantial UK players of the tenor saxophone, though he has recently added quite a bit of clarinet playing into his sets, and he has a fine band with longtime collaborator Liam Noble on piano, Oli Hayhurst on bass and Gene Calderazzo on drums.
The Edge has an excellent intimate room for its jazz gigs - it’s well worth the drive.
The Julian Siegel Quartet play The Edge on Saturday evening, starting at 8pm, and tickets are available via edgeartscentre.co.uk or on 01952 728911.
And if you live in Birmingham and fancy something closer at hand, Jazzlines is offering a strong double bill which is also something of a memorial to the lasting effects of the late Tony Levin on British jazz.
The Deep Joy Quartet brings three of Levin’s close associates and his son together: Paul Dunmall on saxophone, Paul Rogers on bass with Mark Sanders and Miles Levin both on drums.
Pianist Keith Tippett and singer Julie Tippett - a Couple In Spirit as they call themselves - bring huge dollops of freedom, exploration and, of course, spirit to their music.
It’s all happening at the mac in Cannon Hill Park on Saturday from 8pm. More information and booking on www.macarts.co.uk or on 0121 446 3232.