Pianist Zoe Rahman plays the inaugural concert on Saturday in a prestigious new jazz series for the West Midlands. The Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton is the venue and Zoe is Patron on the Jazz At The Arena programme, and will be playing with her quartet.
With Zoe are her brother Idris on clarinet, Alec Dankworth on double bass and Gene Calderazzo on drums.
The band’s music draws on the Rahmans’ Bengali heritage and the great American jazz tradition, producing a highly melodic and characterful fusion of the two. And it doesn’t stop there. The band’s most recent album, Kindred Spirits, even incorporates some Celtic flavours.
Future events in the 2013 series include The Impossible Gentlemen and Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble, and next year’s include the Tord Gustavsen Ensemble and Phronesis.
The Zoe Rahman Quartet are at the Arena at 8pm on Saturday, tickets are £12 (£10 concessions) and booking is on 01902 321 321 or online at www.arenatheatre.info
* On Tuesday another fine pianist leads another fine band: Liam Noble’s Brother Face is a quintet with Chris Batchelor on trumpet, Shabaka Hutchings on saxophone and clarinet, Dave Whitford on double bass and Dave Wickens on drums.
The band plays original material written by Noble, which stretches Tin Pan Alley songwriting into avant garde areas of exploration.
Liam Noble’s Brother Face is at the mac on Tuesday at 8pm, tickets are £10 (£8) and are available at www.macarts.co.uk or on 0121 446 3232.
* Before all that are two excellent free gigs and a new regular Sunday evening session.
The first Thursday of the month is the time for the Jazzlines early evening session at the Bramall Music Building, University of Birmingham, and today pianist Dave Stapleton and trumpeter Neil Yates play as a duo.
Stapleton is more often heard leading bigger combos, and his most recent album, In Flight, featured a string section. Yates plays with a wide range of bands and his own Five Countries trio neatly encapsulates his interests in jazz and folk music.
Both players record, naturally, for Stapleton’s Edition Records label, so while the gig might be a free one, do take some pounds to spend on a CD or two.
The music starts at 5pm. More at www.thsh.co.uk
Guitarist Sam Slater is best known as one of the jazz-flamenco TG Collective, but he presents a pared-back Nearly Hot Club Four on Friday in the Symphony Hall Cafe Bar. Percy Pursglove is on trumpet, Chris Mapp on bass and Lluis Mather on saxophone and clarinet. The music is from the Django Reinhardt tradition and this Jazzlines free gig starts at 5pm. More at www.thsh.co.uk
Finally, a new regular Sunday evening session has been set up by Berklee and Birmingham Conservatoire grad, drummer John Hirst. There is a different band each week, homemade food and it all gets going at 9pm with a jam session from 11pm. Entry is free with a donation recommended. It all happens at The Brown Lion in Hall St, Jewellery Quarter.