There is a completely irrational way in which a West Midland audience feels a mild pride when saxophonist, composer and bandleader Julian Arguelles is on the stage.
He started out in the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra, and then the Walsall Jazz Orchestra. Now he has a pan-European career, mixes being an artist in residence at York University with a current job with the HR Big Band in Frankfurt, and is respected and listened to all over the world.
But he's our Julian, we feel, and so the local-boy-done-good warmth spreads through the hall, and we applaud our own fine taste as well as the exceptionally fine music we are hearing.
There are other reasons for that warm feeling, too. There is the atmosphere that pervades this band of old mates; there is the sight of guitarist Mike Walker, jaw dropped in concentration while adding some seriously funky chop rhythms or just frozen in admiration and enjoyment at an Arguelles soprano solo; there is the richly grounded bass-playing of Steve Watts; and there is the way in which Iain Dixon seems, with his bass clarinet solos, to embrace the whole room in a tight bear-hug.
Though there are sunnier southern European nuances and African tinges at times, there is, in Arguelles's melodies and harmony, the kind of emotional tug one hears in Holst, in Elgar, in Finzi - a musical accent unmistakeably of these islands. And that also makes the heart swell.
The tunes ranged from Hi Steve from his first record in 1990, through Bathtime, one of the first Julian wrote for this group (and first heard at the Bath Festival back in 1996), The Pow Wow and Mind Your Head, commissioned by Birmingham Jazz nearly ten years ago, to Since Then, from his 2003 album As Above, So Below.
It's a great body of work, and is growing in stature and beauty with age.