This week’s big gig features the brilliant Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith, who brings his newest band into the Warwick Arts Centre Studio tonight (Thursday) at the invitation of Jazz Coventry.
Karma is a quartet with Steve Hamilton on piano and keyboards, Kevin Glasgow on six-string electric bass and Alyn Cosker on drums, and the music they play is all written by Smith, though at least one tune will sound familiar.
Smith is hugely flexible in the music he chooses to play, being able to rework the romanticism of Gershwin or Ellington one minute and hit hard with jazz-rock fusion the next.
Karma explores that latter style with a lot of full-on, fiery playing, which at times calls to my mind the Mahavishnu Orchestra, though the harmonic and rhythmic influences range further and wider.
On the band’s recent CD, there are some Arabic-sounding scales here and there, as well as scurrying Indian rhythms.
Tomorrow is based on a Yemeni folk song, while Sun has some Japanese sounds from Smith’s sakuhatchi flute.
But they can be gentler, too, and Smith’s reworking of the Irish folk song Star Of The County Down – now called simply Star – from the band’s recent CD, is a prime example.
Live the band, all four musicians of great virtuosity and wide expression, should be amazing.
Tommy Smith’s Karma plays from 7.45pm and tickets are £14 from www.warwickartscentre.co.uk.
Also on Thursday evening, the Jonathan Silk Quartet is at The Yardbird.
The drummer leads a young group with Nick Jurd on double bass, and John Fleming and Nick Rundle forming the two-tenors frontline.
The band put in a storming set at the Harmonic Festival last weekend, and their brand of relatively freeform playing allows the character of each player to come through.
The Yardbird Thursday evening jazz sessions are organised by Cobweb Collective and start at 9pm, with a jam session from 11pm. Entry is free.
Tomorrow’s Rush Hour Blues Session at the ICC features singer Laura Collins and her band. Laura has one CD, Baltimore Oriole, to her credit and is working on a second.
The music starts at 5.30pm, runs till 7pm, and entry is free.
There’s another drummer in the leader’s chair on Tuesday night, as Euan Palmer brings his Armstrong Project, dedicated to the great Louis, to The Spotted Dog in Warwick St, Digbeth.
The music gets going at around 8.30pm and there is also a jam session after this one. Audience donations are encouraged.
Finally, if you like to take off your jazz jacket on occasion, but prefer to hang on to a jazz thread or two, try the dubstep originality of Submotion Orchestra, who bring their mix of influences, from Sade soul to Cinematic Orchestra groove, to the Warwick Arts Centre Theatre on Friday.
The toes start twitching at 7.30pm with local group Noke, and tickets are £12.50 from www.warwickartscentre.co.uk
Pity it’s in a sit-down venue, but you can’t have everything.