The jazz month in February starts with a very busy week starting on Wednesday 1st February when the American saxophonist John Dikeman plays the Hexagon Theatre at mac in a quartet with Pat Thomas on piano, John Edwards on double bass and Steve Noble on drums. Dikeman is based in Amsterdam, and is very much part of the lively contemporary Dutch scene. The quartet is a really strong group with three of the top improvising musicians in the UK. This is certain to be a high energy gig with free improvisation at its absolute best. It’s a 8pm start.
The same is certainly true of the Paul Dunmall Invites session in the Eastside Jazz Club at Birmingham Conservatoire on Thursday 2nd February. For me, Paul Dunmall is the most exciting improvising saxophonist anywhere in the world, and it is wonderful to be able to hear him play with different musicians at these Invites sessions. Paul has been championing some of the young players on the Birmingham and UK scene introducing them to free improvisation; on this occasion he has invited Glen Leach, a young pianist from Leeds and Tymek Jozwiak, the drummer from Poland who has made Birmingham his home after graduating from the jazz course. The quartet for this session is completed by the more experienced Dave Kane on double bass. As always with these sessions, there will be two sets, the first featuring a student led group. This first set will feature a group led by a very promising young saxophonist Rebecca Wing. Her set will start at 6.30 and is definitely worth catching before the Dunmall set. The latter will start at 7.45 and will be just the one set.
On Friday 3rd February Fizzle/TDE Promotions will be supporting a night of experimental electronic music at the Pan-Pan club in the Digbeth area with the title ALL MY CIRCUITS: Pretty Untangled. This will be the first of a regular series on every two months at the venue, and this one will feature sets by Limpid (Anna Palmer), Blue Ruth and Nature Boi (Meesha Fones). Pan-Pan is at 25D Floodgate Street in the Digbeth area of Birmingham, and doors will open at 7.30.
For more on these three gigs, go to the Fizzle website: http://www.fizzlebirmingham.com.
In the second week of February BMusic:Jazz is running a Big Band Week in Symphony Hall. It is always difficult to keep big bands going in the UK; there are up to 18 musicians all needing to be paid, and, sadly, there is not regular financial support for them in the UK, as in Germany with the Radio Big Bands, and Norway with regularly funded big bands such as the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. But, to be fair, the Arts Council in England is supporting the tours by two great bands: Julian Siegel’s Jazz Orchestra: Tales From The Jacquard and Beats & Pieces Big Band. Julian Siegel plays the flipped stage at Symphony on Tuesday 7th February revisiting his composition based on the rhythms of the jacquards, the weaving loom in the East Midlands where Julian grew up. It played Birmingham Town Hall on its previous tour, and it’s an amazing piece played by top UK jazz musicians. Beats & Pieces is big band from Manchester led by Ben Cottrell; they have just brought out their third album a review of which you can read here. The review notes how the recording has captured the spontaneity of the band and, as they will be playing Birmingham after two nights at Ronnie Scott’s in London, I am sure the concert will feature that same spontaneity. This will be a ticketed gig on the new space, the Jennifer Blackwell Space. The Free Jazz Friday on 10th February rounds off the Big Band Week with MYJO (Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra), 5pm on the Jennifer Blackwell Space. For more details and to book go to https://bmusic.co.uk/whats-on/category/jazz.