Jazzlines, in its former guise as Birmingham Jazz, has always been good at honouring birthdays. We’re not talking a cake and candles here, but concerts and tours.
So, we’ve had various big bashes for Kenny Wheeler down the decades, for Stan Sulzmann’s 60th, for Tony Levin’s 70th, etc.
The birthday boy on Saturday is saxophonist Paul Dunmall, a man who may not be a household name in the wider jazz world.
He has always followed his own path, and it’s been one in which freedom has played a crucial part. He has been a consistent, reliable and inspiring presence across the British jazz scene since the 1970s, whether working with Spirit Level and the Jazz Composers Orchestra in the 1980s, as a member of Mujician, or in countless live and recorded free improv sessions.
The tenor and soprano saxophonist, as well as occasional Northumbrian piper, turned 60 in May and Jazzlines has commissioned a new sextet piece from him to celebrate this milestone.
The commission, entitled Life in Four Parts For Sextet will feature both composed sections and freely improvised passages.
The sextet that Paul has formed and is writing new pieces for, features Jazzlines Fellow Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Mike Fletcher on alto saxophone, Mike Hurley on piano, Chris Mapp on bass and Mark Sanders on drums.
The first half of the evening will feature Paul in the Realisation Trio with Nick Jurd on bass and Jim Bashford on drums. The Birmingham performance is being recorded for broadcast on the Jazz On 3 programme on BBC Radio 3.
Paul Dunmall At 60 is on Saturday at the mac, starting at 8pm. There is more at thsh.co.uk .
* Tuesday is once again, tough choice day, with three tempting events.
Portico Quartet, the Mercury-nominated band who started out as buskers and now play a powerful, electronic-fuelled mix of jazz, minimalism and dance music, are at the Glee Club from 8pm. This would appear to be the perfect venue to enjoy the full force of Portico’s sound. More at www.thsh.co.uk .
The Spotted Dog organisers, Blam!, have managed a bit of a coup, with the help of Jazzlines – they have saxophonist Stan Sulzmann as the guest soloist in a band that has Richard Foote on trombone, Nick Jurd on bass and Jonathan Silk on drums.
The music gets going at 9pm, entrance is free and donations are encouraged. More at www.blambirmingham.co.uk .
And, if you want a slightly more unusual but no doubt hugely-rewarding musical experience, then you could attend an evening band workshop given by the group that is currently wowing me and everyone I know, Snarky Puppy. There are more specific instruments workshops with members for the band during the day. Snarky Puppy are at the Nexus Trust, a Christian music college in Coventry.
There is more information at www.nexustrust.co.uk