* The big gig of the week is Brubecks Play Brubeck at Birmingham Town Hall on Monday but there’s another important jazz player in town this week, too, albeit from the music’s free jazz fringe.

John Tchicai, born in Denmark of Danish/Congolese parents, has had a long and worthy career as a saxophonist. In the 1960s he went to New York and ended up playing in the John Coltrane band for Trane’s Ascension album.

He returned to Denmark in 1966 and played less frequently as his involvement in jazz education increased, but in the 1970s returned to regular gigging.

Now living in France, he continues to move his music forward.

Tonight (Thursday) in Birmingham he plays the Invention Convention at the Mac with Mike Hurley on piano, Mark Sanders on drums and John Coxon on guitar.

It should be an exciting evening. Hurley and Sanders are well known in the free jazz scene, Coxon is also a member of the band Spiritualized, and Tchicai has lost none of the searching spirit that has always characterised his music.

This is a Birmingham Jazz/Fizzle co-promotion, it starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £8 from macarts.co.uk, on 0121 446 3232 or on the door. Go to birminghamjazz.co.uk

* Also tonight (Thursday) the Rush Hour Blues in the Symphony Hall foyer bar takes on a folksy feel with the Urban Folk Quartet.

The band use violins and other string things and won the Spanish International Folk competition on only their fourth gig. The music runs from 5.30pm to 7pm and it’s free.

* Stratford Jazz has a lot to shout about on Sunday with the arrival of Killer Shrimp in their line-up.

This is a quartet led by Damon Brown on trumpet and Ed Jones on saxophone, with Mark Hodgson on bass and Alyn Cosker on drums.

All are killer players and their explosive mix of hard bop and contemporary sounds earned them the Best Jazz Ensemble Award at the 2007 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

They have just released their second album, Whatever Sincerely: Tales From The Baltic Wharf, with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich using his technical wizadry to become something of a fifth band member. Killer Shrimp play at The Chapel, No1 Shakespeare Street, Stratford-upon-Avon from 8pm, and tickets are £8 on the door. Go to stratfordjazz.org.uk

* Finally, a reminder that you can hear Soweto Kinch playing music from his new album, The New Emancipation, at the CBSO Centre Friday, December 4. You can book now at birminghamjazz.co.uk