Who would have thought that a band of young guys busking on the South Bank in London would one day be filling the prestigious Barbican Theatre with their quirky, hard to classify instrumental music featuring weird percussion instruments?

But that is the success story of the Mercury Prize-nominated Portico Quartet, currently selling shedloads of their second CD, Isla. And they are at Warwick Arts Centre on Saturday.

The band – Jack Wyllie (saxophones and electronics), Milo Fitzpatrick (double bass), Nick Mulvey (hang and percussion) and Duncan Bellamy (drums) – describe themselves as “an indie band that plays post-jazz rather than as a traditional jazz outfit”.

Support at this gig comes from Kami Thompson, daughter of Richard and sister of Teddy, the concert starts at 8pm in the Theatre. Tickets can be booked online at www.warwickartscentre.co.uk or from the Box Office on 024 7652 4524.


Rising star of the jazz keyboard Kit Downes, who recently played a superb Rush Hour Blues gig with his acoustic piano trio, returns to the city on Wednesday, this time plugged in as organist with the jazz/prog trio Troyka.

Completing the line-up is Chris Montague on guitar with Joshua Blackmore on drums. One review called them “King Crimson for the iPod generation” which neatly refers to their prog-rock leanings.

The band is said to be very powerful live, so they should create quite a stir in the Rainbow Courtyard from 9pm. Entry is £4 on the door and this a Jazz Club event from Birmingham Jazz. More info at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk


One of the most successful graduates of Birmingham Conservatoire’s jazz course has been pianist and composer Alcyona Mick, and she returns to Birmingham on Tuesday to contribute to the Flatpack Festival.

The festival commissioned her to write new music for F.W. Murnau’s 1927 silent film Sunrise, and she will be performing it live to the film, assisted by Jon Wygens on guitar and Geoff Hannan on violin, at St Martin in the Bullring from 7.30pm.

Tickets are £10 and you can book at www.flatpackfestival.org.uk


Before all that, saxophonist Charlotte Glasson is in town on Friday evening concocting a ska, gipsy and klezmer-influenced jazz cure for those Rush Hour Blues. The band includes the excellent Mark Bassey on trombone, Dave Holdsworth on tuba, Jason Henson on guitar and Sam Glasson on drums.

* News and views, please, to peterbacon@mac.com