It's the calm, quiet time before the storm that is the Birmingham International Jazz Festival, so let's catch our breath and make a couple of bookings for the weeks ahead.
Jazz in church is a relatively rare occurrence, but there is going to be a lot of it between now an October as Acoustic Triangle, in their new three-dimensional format, tour some of the country's finest cathedrals and abbeys.
The band - Malcolm Creese on double bass, Tim Garland on saxophone and other woodwinds, and Gwilym Simcock, playing piano and, occasionally, French horn - are joined for this project by the Sacconi Strings, a classical string section.
They come to Lichfield cathedral on Thursday, July 10, as part of the Lichfield Festival, and to Worcester cathedral on Thursday, August 7, as part of the Three Choirs Festival.
Creese, Garland and Simcock all have strong jazz credentials, but this group allows the latter pair to explore their compositional ideas with more formal semi-classical pieces.
The album of this music, which is now out on the Audio-B label and called 3 Dimensions, contains two suites of tunes by Garland and one by Simcock.
It's rich and highly atmospheric music, leaning more heavily towards composition - imperative when a six string players are also involved - than towards improvisation, but there is always room for spontaneity in the music and the influences come just as much from Keith Jarrett or Kenny Wheeler as they are from Ravel and Stravinsky. The real random element comes into play with the venues. They describe in their publicity material how each performance will be individually "choreographed" to suit the building.
For the Lichfield concert, the focus will be on the band playing in the round, but some players will be elsewhere in the building, behind or above the audience, and a real surround-sound experience is a crucial part of Malcolm Creese's philosophy. Not only does the Triangle play purely acoustically, but the acoustics of the spaces they play in are vital to the experience.
Some jazz, then, but not as we know it, and well worth exploring.
Acoustic Triangle - in Three Dimensions is at 9.30pm on Thursday, July 10, in Lichfield Cathedral. You can book on 01543 412121 and there is more information about this gig on lichfieldfestival.org. Other jazz events at the Lichfield Festival include the Bryan Corbett Quartet, The Passion and Humph Remembered, a tribute to Humphrey Lyttelton.
To find out more about Acoustic Triangle and the new recording, go to audio-b.com
* Another summer's day, another lovely venue, and a rare appearance in this part of the country by the excellent saxophonist Chris Biscoe.
On Wednesday, July 16, he brings his British Standard Time band to Ratlinghope, Shropshire, as part of the Music at Leasowes Bank festival. Instead of playing all the American standards, Chris has reworked tunes by Noel Coward, Ivor Novello, even Gilbert and Sullivan, and has assembled an outstanding band to play them.
Fellow saxophonist Alan Barnes is there, together with John Horler on piano, Dave Green on bass and Dave Barry on drums.
Find out more at leasowesmusicfestival. co.uk
* The Birmingham International Jazz Festival has an excellent new website - birmingham-jazzfestival.com - where you can find out what is coming up between July 4 and 13. I'll be making my picks of the proceedings next week.
GIGS THIS WEEK:
Thursday - Crossroads Blues Club at the Tower of Song Cafe Bar, 107 Pershore Road South, has The Doctor and The Duke. Spawned from the Doctor Teeth Big Band, a trio playing stripped down original r-and-b, jazz standards, a batch of blues tunes, ragtime, stride and a few gospel classics.It starts at 8pm, free at the door but give generously when the hat goes round.
* Friday - The Rush Hour Blues are soothed by Jim White's Sonic Butterfly, from 5.30pm in the Symphony Hall foyer bar. This one is also free.
Sunday - Stratford Jazz at the White Swan, in Stratford Upon Avon, have Stekpanna, a trio of Steve Kershaw (bass), Mads Kjolby (guitar) and Petter Svard (drums). Free, also, but please enter the raffle. It starts at 8pm. There is more on stratfordjazz.org.uk
* If you have any news or views you'd like to share, email me at email@example.com The blog is at thejazzbreakfast.blogspot.com.