Don't you just love the end of the summer holidays? A few regular gigs starting up once more and the promise of some great things ahead.

On Friday, the exceedingly popular Rush Hour Blues sessions, run by Birmingham Jazz in conjunction with Symphony Hall, start up again in that august venue's Foyer Bar.

From 5.30pm until the jazz has to make way for the lounge rock of Mr Richard Hawley, you can hear the bright and shiny nu-jazz sounds of keyboard player Andre Bassing and his band Bassingmusic.

Andre was born in Germany but moved to Birmingham four years ago and has since become a familiar face on the local scene as well as an active session player.

His musical range runs from Julie Dexter to Musical Youth, but his own band adds tight horn parts and rhythm team to the Fender Rhodes sound he favours.

Coming up in future Rush Hour Blues sessions are the Dave Stapleton Quintet, the Blake Wilner Quartet and the Bryan Corbett Quartet. Get there early if you want a seat and, of course, it's free.


One institution that never takes a break is Bearwood Jazz, home of the legendary Andy Hamilton.

Every Thursday there is jazz action at the Bearwood Corks Club and this week they have a very special guest in Enrique Pla.

Pla is a Cuban kit drummer who was one of the original members of probably the finest band in Cuban history: Irakere. Founded in 1973 by pianist and composer Chucho Valdes, Irakere also had in its ranks the trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, the woodwind master Paquito D'Rivera and flautist Jose Luiz Cortez.

Their stint in Birmingham at the recently opened Ronnie Scott's club in Broad Street is an exceptionally fond and treasured memory for all who were there.

Sandoval and D'Rivera both went on to successful solo careers after leaving Cuba, and Cortez went on to lead the great Cuban band NG La Banda.

Enrique Pla has played with many of the Cuban superstars and subsequently turned his attentions to teaching the next generation of Cuban drummers. He should be an explosive addition to Hamilton's Blue Notes on the Corks Club stage on Thursday.

Doors open at 8.30pm and it's just £4 to get in. The Corks Club is on the corner of Bearwood and Sherwood Roads. More info on


On Saturday, if you fancy dancing to your jazz, The Waterworks Jazz Club has Richard Leach's Clubhouse Five at the United Services Club in Gough Street (not far from the Mailbox). It gets going around 8pm and costs £7 on the door.

To join, and for more details of all these gigs, look at

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