Summer, it seems, has finally arrived. There is a certain sublime satisfaction in bringing sweating bodies and cold beer into close proximity.
Not only will that be possible on Wednesday evening but the perfect soundtrack for such a conjunction is also on hand.
The venue is the Jazz Club at the Rainbow, and the band is the Sub Ensemble, Chris Mapp’s nu-jazz group that has grown out of the Sugarbeats.
The Sub Ensemble has a shiny little EP of their best-known tunes now available on the Treble O label.
It includes Faster Than The Sun, an exhilarating mix of many things, including a bubbling groove from bassist Mapp, Rob Norman on the keys, drummer Al Gardiner and percussionist Mark “Magoo” Robertson, punchy horn charts played by Mike Adlington on trumpet, Mike Fletcher on saxophone and Colin Mills on baritone, an insane bari solo from Mills, and soaring above it all a hook-laden vocal line sung with immense cool power by Sara Colman.
The track 22 21 features the most exciting flute solo I’ve heard in years, and Beautiful Spring shows the band’s gentler side, with rich horn charts and a bit of a ’60s soundtrack feel to it. You can almost see the Corvette Sting Ray winding down the coast road into LA as Adlington plays the tune on trumpet, before a little Hitchcockian tension is added in the film noir tones of the double bass solo.
This band was one of the finalists for the recent Dave Holland Ensemble Award at Birmingham Conservatoire, but they are best heard away from the halls of academia and in places where students meet to have fun. Their mix of strong jazz chops with trippy beats is a winning combination for uniting the jazz audience with the other one that didn’t realise it liked jazz.
Chris Mapp is also taking a DJ role at the Jazz Club gig, and will be spinning his favourites from 8pm, with the Sub Ensemble taking the stage at 9.30pm. Entry is just £3.
For a taste of the music, try the band’s MySpace site, and there is also a Sub Ensemble blog – you can find them by googling Sub Ensemble.
Other gigs this week: Tonight: Bryan Corbett on trumpet and Richard Baker on trombone front the Al Gurr Trio Bolehall Manor, Amington Road, Tamworth. Doors open at 8.30pm and it’s free.
Thursday: It’s jam night at the Bearwood Corks Club, where the house band is Andy Hamilton & the Blue Notes, and the guests could be anyone.
Entry is £4 (£3 concs), doors open at 8.30pm and you can find out more at bearwoodjazz.co.uk
Now called HSBC Brecon Jazz, the Brecon Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary from August 7 to 10. Big names this year include Lee Konitz, Mark Murphy, Joe Temperley and Louis Hayes from the States and Martin Taylor, Jools Holland and Neil Cowley from closer to home. Find out more at breconjazz.co.uk
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The blog is: thejazzbreakfast.blogspot.com