* You don’t have to be mad to work here but it helps – is that the slogan on the rehearsal room door when Andy Sheppard meets with fellow Bristolian saxophonist James Morton and his band called The Lunatics?
Morton is in his early 20s but is already causing a stir down the M5, and this evening he is likely to be causing one down the A45, as The Lunatics and their collaborator and mentor, Mr Sheppard, play Warwick Arts Centre Studio.
The other mad men are Dan Moore on keyboards, Spencer Brown on bass and Simon Gore on drums.
According to the blurb, Andy has been writing music inspired by the hotels he’s been staying in while touring.
Tonight’s gig starts at 7.45pm and tickets are £14 (£12) from 024 7652 4524 or warwickartscentre.co.uk – this is a Jazz Coventry gig, and it’s a small venue so don’t delay.
* On Wednesday and Friday, Bristol features again in the form of trumpeter Andy Colman. On Wednesday he is at the Pizza Express in Sutton Coldfield from 7pm with a more familiar Colman to Midland audiences, singer and pianist Sara, and on Friday the Andy Colman Quartet (Jamil Sheriff on piano, Jon Thorne on bass and John Perry on drums) ease away those Rush Hour Blues from 5.30pm in the Symphony Hall foyer bar. Both gigs are free, though you will need to eat in Sutton.
* On Thursday evening bassist Mike Hatton’s MJHQ is the guest band at Andy Hamilton and the Blue Notes’ regular Corks Club session. Doors open at 8.30pm, the band is on at 9pm, and it costs £5 (£4) to get in.
* Saturday is Salsa night at Birmingham Town Hall, and providing the music is the very classy Latin jazz orchestra of pianist Alex Wilson.
Alex has a new album out, Salsa Con Soul, on his own label featuring this 12-piece band, and a fine and fiery disc it is, too.
It combines the straight-ahead Latin jazz Wilson is best known for with a soulful, almost gospel warmth added. In addition to the Wilson originals – and he is a catchy writer – there are covers of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together and the Randy Crawford hit Rio De Janeiro Blue.
The Town Hall show starts at 7pm, tickets are £18.50 from 0121 780 3333 or from thsh.co.uk and you are urged to dress to impress. Men should go for black tie.
* On Sunday at the Live Box, the wonderful guitarist David Okumu is in the company of Polar Bear/Acoustic Ladyland bassist and drummer Leo Taylor.
Together they call themselves The Invisible. The Live Box is at the Drum every Sunday evening from 7.45pm and it’s just £5 (£3) to get in.
* Finally, for a review of the new CD by ace arranger Vince Mendoza plus a classic reissue from another great jazz arranger, please go to my blog.