The Jazzlines Month - March 2013

At the beginning of March we are very pleased to be part of the celebrations of Steve Reich’s visit to Birmingham, and the Reich Influences mini-series.

Reich’s appearance, on Wednesday 6 March at Town Hall, celebrates the London Sinfonietta’s performance of a new work entitled Radio Rewrite, inspired by music from the band Radiohead, Jigsaw Falling Into Place from their In Rainbows album, and Everything In Its Right Place from the Kid A album.

Reich is a classical composer, arguably the greatest living composer, but in the 60s was moving away from the more academic Twelve Tone approach and found inspiration in the jazz of John Coltrane and Miles Davis of that period. He has always acknowledged a love for Coltrane’s music, see for example this interview last week with Alex Petridis for the Guardian.

As part of Reich Influences we present two new commissions; on Thursday in the foyer of the University of Birmingham’sBramall Music Building, composer and bass player Chris Mapp presents his Buzzoig band with Iain Ballamy on sax, Sam Wooster on trumpet and Tymek Jocwiak on drums.

This project has been commissioned to celebrate the premiere performance of Steve Reich’s Radio Rewrite which takes place two days before. Reich’s new work is inspired by the music of Radiohead. Continuing on this theme, Buzzoig will play music inspired by Reich, Radiohead as well as some of their influences. Rather than a straight reworking of Radiohead’s music, this project attempts to pay tribute to it through sound, gesture and vibe. Elements of the original music will appear and disappear, shape the direction and act as inspiration for improvisation. – Chris Mapp

On Friday at 5pm, for our regular Jazzlines Free Gigs sessions in Symphony Hall Cafe Bar, we present a large ensemble led by alto saxophonist Mike Fletcher leading a group inspired by John Coltrane’sAfrica Brass album, which was recorded in the period in which Reich was listening to Coltrane. The group has three trombones, two trumpets doubling flugelhorn, a double bass and an electric bass, drums plus Mike of course. The project is named Different Trane in honour of Reich’s piece Different Trains and of Coltrane himself.

Another eminent figure in contemporary music is in town this week. Bass player, band leader and composer Dave Holland is at Birmingham Conservatoire Monday to Thursday working with students on the jazz course in his role as Visiting Professor in Jazz. He will be working with various student groups who will perform pieces of Dave’s at a special concert in the Adrian Boult Hall on Thursday 7 March.

To conclude a busy but wonderful week, Jazzlines has a concert at mac with a group led by saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and called Neon. It features the wonderful Kit Downes on piano, the equally wonderful Jim Hart on vibes and Tim Giles on drums and takes place on Saturday 9 March. Book tickets here

At the Jam House on Tuesday 19 March at 8.30, Jazzlines presents the Chris Gumbley Quintet paying tribute to the music of Cannonball Adderley.

We have the next of our Jazz Club series at the Hare & Hounds music venue in Kings Heath on Wednesday 27 March at 8.30. It features World Service Project, an excellent young London band that continues the trend towards high energy funky jazz with a wide appeal. They are supported by Chris Young Sextet, led by saxophonist Chris Young, a top graduate from the Conservatoire jazz course.

Our collaboration with Blam! continues with the presentation of saxophonist Art Themen working with the Andy Bunting Trio at the Spotted Dog Tuesday session on 12 March at 8.30pm. Art worked for many years with the Stan Tracey Quartet.

Finally we are delighted to welcome on board our three Jazzlines Fellows supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation: Lluis Mather, Dan Nicholls and Percy Pursglove, and our BBC Performing Arts Fund FellowJonathan Silk.

– Tony Dudley-Evans, Jazzlines Adviser

Image credit: Vatroslav Milos