No matter the long-term weather forecast for the rest of the winter, the outlook for jazz in the first months of 2014 is warm and sunny.
Jazzlines has concerts on sale featuring not only some of the most exciting British bands but also some prestigious names from across the pond and elsewhere in Europe.
First up is Empirical, the exploratory jazz quartet paired, as it was for its most recent recording, Tabula Rasa, with the Benyounes String Quartet. This concert is at the CBSO Centre on January 18.
Three more British bands that continue to innovate with each new recording and tour are in the Jazzlines programme to play the last Thursday of the month, the Hare & Hounds slot. For January it’s the “spikily abstract” trio Toyka (Jan 30), for February it is Sebastian Rochford’s electronically tweaked acoustic quintet Polar Bear, and for March Shabaka Hutchings’ brass and drums quartet Sons Of Kemet is on the stand.
And, as an added bonus, there is an additional Thursday Hare & Hounds date, with Bristol-based jazz-rock quartet Get The Blessing.
Jazzlines’ international programme includes downtown New York linchpins, Scandinavian sublimity and a cross-generational supergroup.
BB&C is a trio of saxophonist Tim Berne, drummer Jim Black and – a novel and exciting addition – Nels Cline on guitar. Cline is best known for being part of the alt-rock band Wilco, but has always inhabited that world where garage band and experimentalists overlap. The trio is at the CBSO Centre on Friday, February 14.
Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen has built a strong and loyal Birmingham audience over the years, first with his trio and more recently with his four-piece ensemble. He – and they – are at the CBSO Centre on March 14.
The Spring Quartet brings together the veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette, the nearly-as-veteran saxophonist Joe Lovano and the young double bass star Esperanza Spalding, together with her regular pianist, Leo Genovese. These instrumental giant-killers are at Birmingham Town Hall on April 4.
In addition, there is a special vocal treat. American singer Gregory Porter has found his way into the hearts of a vast range of music lovers, and so should have no trouble filling Birmingham Town Hall on March 18. Hearing his rich, chocolate tones filling this space will be a real treat.
You can find out more and book for all these gigs at www.thsh.co.uk/jazzlines .
Over at Warwick Arts Centre, song interpreter Barb Jungr turns her attentions to Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen in an intimate evening called Hard Rain on February 16, while a young singer making waves in the jazz/soul scene, Zara McFarlane will be performing songs from her soon to be released new album, If You Knew Her , on February 21.
Get The Blessing are at WAC on March 10 and Gilad Atzmon and his Orient House Ensemble are there on March 14.
Find out more and book tickets at www.warwickartscentre.co.uk
The Jazz At The Arena programme at the theatre of that name in Wolverhampton has double bassist Gary Crosby’s Foundation on February 14, The Tord Gustavsen Ensemble on March 16, the Kyle Eastwood Band on April 26, and pianist Dave Stapleton’s interesting new cross-genre band Slowly Rolling Camera on June 6.