A quieter week by comparison with some recent ones, so there’s time to sit down with the Cheltenham Jazz Festival brochure and make some plans for the end of the month.
Of course, if you did this a month ago you would still have been able to get tickets for Festival guest director Jamie Cullum’s gig. That sold out immediately.
But all is not lost. In a brilliant move, Cheltenham has arranged for Jamie’s concert to be broadcast live to a number of cinemas around the country.
I’m not sure how I feel about sitting in, say, the Lighthouse in Wolverhampton, while the party goes on down at the Town Hall 60 miles south – still, it presents the opportunity to create your own party there in the stalls, I suppose.
In another stroke of audience-broadening genius, and one that also sold out straight-away, Cheltenham secured the services of that misery of New Jersey hospital corridors, Dr Gregory House, to sing the blues for us all.
Hugh Laurie is a bit of a dab hand on the old Joanna, you might remember from episodes of Jeeves And Wooster and Fry & Laurie, and he is now playing old classics like St James Infirmary and Swanee River.
Laurie also has an album, Let Them Talk, coming out in May.
The festival still has tickets available between Wednesday, April 27, and Monday, May 2. A few highlights are:
Saturday, April 30 – Trondheim Jazz Project – students from Trondheim Conservatory and Birmingham Conservatoire swap ideas.
Julian Arguelles and John Taylor – two great innovators and singular voices in British jazz.
Pharoah Sanders – a chance to see a jazz legend.
Django Bates – the uncrowned duke of contemporary jazz in this country (also Sunday, May 1).
May 1: Overtone Quartet – Dave Holland and superstar friends Jason Moran, Chris Potter and Eric Harland.
May 2: Phronesis – the most exciting British piano trio at a time of many exciting British piano trios.
Meanwhile, a few gigs this week:
Tomorrow: Birmingham Jazz’s community and education work gets a Symphony Hall foyer showcase with Birmingham Jazz Ensemble and The Hang Project filling the Rush Hour Blues slot. 5.30pm-7pm. Free.
Also tomorrow, dine out with Percy Pursglove and Matt Ratcliffe offering some Jazz At Bohemia from 7.30pm. £25 gets you a three-course meal and the music. Booking essential. See www.eatbohemia.co.uk
Sunday: Tom Hill’s Straitjackets do the business for Stratford Jazz at The Chapel in Stratford-Upon-Avon from 8pm. It’s £8. See www.stratfordjazz.org.uk
Wednesday: The Birmingham Conservatoire jazz students play the music of their guest tutor Dave Holland in the Recital Hall at the Conservatoire, from 6pm. Tickets are £5.50 at the door.