Issued: 25 March 2009

FRIDAY 17 APRIL 5.30PM – 7.00PM
Event Info

Event Info

Jazz fans can get a double dose of the good stuff with three hours of top class jazz in one night across Town Hall and Symphony Hall on Friday 17 April.

The popular free Rush Hour Blues series welcomes the feted young German trumpeter Matthias Schriefl with his band Shreefpunk, for their one and only UK date before a scheduled performance at the European Jazz Network showcase in Bremen, Germany.

At only 27 years of age, Schriefl?s fearless ability to blend in veering strings, blasts of punk and improvised jazz with infectious melodies and grooves has already led to an extensive list of awards, commendations from critics and a record deal with prestigious jazz label ACT.

Designated a ?Rising Star? by the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO), of which Symphony Hall is a member, Matthias Schriefl and Shreefpunk will tour the leading concert halls of Europe throughout 2009/2010. This is a stellar opportunity to catch the young Bavarian for free at 5.30pm for a 90 minutes set on Level 3 foyer of Symphony Hall.


At 7.30pm, Town Hall Birmingham will be playing host to Motorcity Roots with Jazz Jamaica – a very special evening of classic Detroit soul with an upbeat Caribbean twist celebrating the 50th anniversary of legendary US record label Motown.

Jazz Jamaica, ska group extraordinaire, is made up of leading figures from the UK jazz, reggae and funk scenes, and plays feel good music with serious bass rhythms, a bold brass section, and irresistible mento and rocksteady melodies alongside stunning jazz solos.

Led by original Jazz Warrior member and bassist Gary Crosby, the world-class line-up includes New Orleans trumpeter Abram Wilson, MOBO award winning saxophonist Denys Baptiste and top UK Latin pianist and Jazz Warrior member Alex Wilson.

Trade Unionist, activist and ?Son of Jamaica? Lord Bill Morris of Handsworth will put in a guest appearance live on stage to reprise his narration of Marvin Gaye?s What?s Going On backed by the vivacious dance band.

Formed in 1991, Jazz Jamaica went on to win the Best Band category in the 2002 BBC Jazz Awards, Ensemble of the Year in the 2006 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and secure their place as leading skazz (ska and jazz fusion) artists with fourth album Motorcity Roots (Dune 2006).

With an overwhelming feel-good reggae flavour to soul and RnB hits such as Tears of a Clown, You Keep Me Hangin? On, Dancing in the Streets and Easy, the evening concert at Town Hall Birmingham will be a fantastic celebration of the unique Motown sound.

Founded in 1957 by Berry Gordy, the Motown record label shot to international fame with artists such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Jackson 5 and The Temptations playing important parts in its success.

Jazz Jamaica Motorcity Roots line-up:

Gary Crosby, Abram Wilson, Denys Baptiste, Alex Wilson, Harry Brown, and Rod Youngs, with Zara McFarlane, Baby Sol and J?Nay on vocals.


Notes to editor:

Matthias Schriefl

A star in his native Germany, and signed to the prestigious ACT label (the pioneering home to the late Esbjorn Svensson, Lars Danielsson, [em] and many others), Schriefl is by no means your typical jazz wunderkind. As the name suggests, Shreefpunk?s sound draws on much more than just jazz, allowing the assembled cast to widen their range and scope of their playing and create something utterly unique.

A seasoned performer who has worked with the likes of Peter Brötzmann, Lee Konitz, Joachim Kühn, Nils Landgren, Phil Woods, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the UK?s own Django Bates (who guests on the band?s latest CD, Live In Kőln), Schriefl is regularly marked out as ?one to watch? in polls and critics? awards across Europe, and has picked up a slew of awards and commendations in the course of his relatively short but highly impressive professional career.

In 1991, inspired by the rhythms of traditional Jamaican music and largely improvisational nature of jazz, original Jazz Warrior, and veteran jazz double bassist, Gary Crosby turned a musical concept into a joyful reality. Crosby?s concept was to create a quintessential fusion of mento, ska, reggae and jazz, playing classic and modern jazz standards alongside Jamaican folksongs. The result was Jazz Jamaica.

Since its realisation, Crosby has developed the Jazz Jamaica concept by introducing a stream of talented young jazz musicians, so increasing the size of the pool of ?Jazz Jamaicans?, and enabling him to extend the boundaries of the music played. Collectively, Crosby and his musicians represent the finest exponents of this unique musical fusion known as skazz, a fusion loved and appreciated by everyone, of all ages and colours around the globe.

Lord Bill Morris is a trustee of Performances Birmingham Limited.

Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a registered charity. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, designed to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and a thriving education/community department reaches a further 20,000 people of all ages.

Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (£18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (£3m).