After what seems like an awfully long time, Birmingham Jazz finally gets fully into gear this week with a prestige double bill on Saturday, the first of the new Jazz Club season on Wednesday and collaboration with the Supersonic Festival on Sunday.
Saturday’s gig features one of the most talked-about trios of 2011. Back in January the CD Blissful Ignorance was released on Edition Records and the effusive reviews quickly followed.
Meadow brings together two Norwegians, the drummer Thomas Stronen and the saxophonist Tore Brunborg, and one Briton, the pianist John Taylor.
I’d pay good money to hear each one of them, but what is striking is that they bring all kinds of fresh elements out of the playing of all three. Greater than the sum of its parts? Maybe.
Taylor is the veteran here, full of wisdom and experience, yet always bringing new ideas to his playing; Stronen, last seen here a few weeks back in the highly electronically processed atmosphere of Food, is one of the most melodic drummers around, and a master of texture; Brunborg is the least known of the band, but came to general acclaim with Tord Gustavsen, and brings one of the creamiest of saxophone tones to the party.
A very special concert, then, made even more special by the addition of a first half featuring more Edition Records players: saxophonist Jason Yarde and pianist Andrew McCormack.
The pair had often played together on Dune recording sessions with the likes of Gary Crosby and Denys Baptiste, and both have written orchestral pieces for the London Symphony Orchestra, but it was at the London Jazz Festival in 2009 that they launched their duo project.
Now they have their second CD out, called Places And Other Spaces, and are showing audiences around the country what happens when two highly talented composers and players get to bounce their ideas of one another.
Meadow and McCormack/Yarde are at the CBSO Centre at 8pm. Tickets are £14 from www.thsh.co.uk or on 0121 780 3333.
Double bills seem to be Birmingham Jazz’s new thing, because their revamped Jazz Club, which has moved from the Rainbow in Digbeth to the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, features Led Bib with support from the Jonathan Silk Quartet on Wednesday.
Expect rock-influenced improv from the headliners and twin-tenor textures with a strong rhythm drive from Silk and co.
Doors open at 8pm, the bands start at 8.30pm, and entrance is £5 for the music or £10 for the music plus some “soul food”. More info at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk.
Free jazz avant rock is how Fire!, featuring Swedish free jazz saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Australian drone guitarist Oren Ambarchi, is described. The band is appearing on Sunday as part of this weekend’s Supersonic Festival, and is co-promoted by Birmingham Jazz.
For more info go to www.supersonicfestival.com. Oh, and don’t forget to buy your earplugs in advance; Supersonic won’t be catering for namby-pambies.