If you’d forgotten what a lasting influence Birmingham-trained musicians are having on the UK jazz scene, Saturday comes the reminder with a double bill of fresh and challenging new music from Blink and the Dan Nicholls Quartet.
At one of three equal corners of Blink is Alcyona Mick, a pianist who played out a lot around Birmingham while studying at the Conservatoire. Saxophonist/clarinetist Robin Fincker and percussionist Paul Clarvis occupy the other two corners.
Fincker searches for new ways to construct a solo while Clarvis is always something of an eyebrow raiser – both his own and ours. They have a disc out on Loop Records, and bring 20th century classical influences as well as world music nuances to their freeish jazz.
Dan Nicholls, another pianist, prefers electric keyboard and also displays all kinds of influences, from the retro-Rhodes, crunchy chords of electric Miles to knotty overlays of odd-timed repeat patterns gleaned from studying Eastern music. After graduating from the Conservatoire, Dan headed for Copenhagen, drawn by the exciting work Django Bates was doing at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory. He’s back briefly and will likely be reunited with his old band which also includes Robin Fincker.
If you missed their excellent gig at this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival, make sure you don’t make the same mistake again.
Dan wrote one militant song inspired by his desire to trash that blaring BBC screen on the back of the Town Hall – a view that endears him to me even more.
Blink & Dan Nicholls Quartet, presented by Birmingham Jazz, CBSO Centre, Saturday at 8pm, tickets
£12 on the door or at thsh.co.uk
Also on Saturday is a gig at that new must-play venue, The Edge, in Much Wenlock.
If it was good enough for the Bobo Stenson Trio, it’s also good enough for Tim Garland’s Lighthouse Trio (with Gwilym Simcock and Asaf Sirkis). This one is at 8pm, tickets are £10, and there’s more info on edgeartscentre.co.uk
Bruce Coates certainly has difficulty with venues – no sooner does he plan a gig than they close. So Wednesday’s Frimp evening is not at the Station, but in the Elgar Room in the Arts Building at Birmingham University.
Your reward for finding it is free entry and the gig starts at 10pm, so you have plenty of time to have dinner and get lost first. The line-up includes American guitarist Han-earl Park, percussionist Walt Shaw and clarinetist David Ryan.
Finally, ZOO launch their new album End Of The Telegraph Wires at the Yardbird Jazz Club, Paradise Place, Birmingham, from 8pm on Sunday. A new kind of jazz fusion is promised.