Jazz and Improvised Music Gigs Off To An Early Start In Birmingham

The burgeoning scene for jazz and improvised music in Birmingham bursts into life again in January with the launch of a new season for Fizzle and TDE Promotions, and the start of the 2022 Housewarming BMusic Jazz Series in the new foyer at Symphony Hall.

Fizzle and TDE Promotions managed to be very active last year once the Covid regulations were eased, and between them promoted 19 gigs from late May at various venues, notably at Centrala, the Hexagon Theatre at mac, the Eastside Jazz Club at the Conservatoire. Before that during the lockdown period, the two organisations combined to set up five video recording sessions at Sansom Studios. These plus the one made in late 2020 have now been watched by nearly 4500 viewers. Attendances at the live gigs run since May have also been good.

Steve Tromans

The new season begins on Thursday 13th January in the wonderful Hexagon Theatre at mac where Steve Tromans launches his new album Duos and Remixes. The line up is Steve Tromans – piano & monotron, Piera Onacko – synthesizers, Jude Rees – oboe, vocals & loop synthesizer, Tymoteusz Jozwiak – percussion, Sarah Farmer – violin, Si Paton – electric bass. The concert will feature a series of solos, duos and trios, and I well remember a duo performance between Steve and Sarah Farmer a year or so ago. That was brilliant and I expect the various configurations at the January gig will create similar exciting combinations. Steve Tromans himself is very active at the moment; he has finished his PhD so is now Dr. Stephen Tromans, and he has an excellent solo piano album out on FMR Records.

You can book for this here. You can rest assured that social distancing will be possible in the Hexagon Theatre.

Also coming up in January is a collaboration between Fizzle and Club Integral at The Edge venue on Cheapside in the Digbeth area. Club Integral have a really good track record of promoting interesting experimental music and are natural partners for Fizzle. The joint event will take place on Friday 28th January and will feature various acts suggested by the two organisations. They will include an exciting new trio with two improvising violinists, Angharad Davies and Sarah Farmer plus saxophonist Rachel Musson. Also appearing are Aaron Diaz, solo trumpet and effects, Semay Wu, solo cello, voice and electronics and books, formerly known as Micronormous featuring Matt Eaton from Pram + a film-maker.

Information about booking to follow. Again numbers will be restricted so that social distancing will be possible.

Steve Ajao

I would also like to mention the Friday BMusic Jazz sessions on the new foyer at Symphony Hall. They begin on Friday 14th January with a particular favourite of the Friday audience: Steve Ajao and the Blues Giants and continue on the 21st with another firm favourite Chris Bowden leading a quartet with Jim Watson on piano, James Owston on bass and Jim Bashford on drums. Guitarist Steve Banks leads a strong quintet on Friday 28th January. These sessions run from 5 to 6.30pm. The Notebenders are also back for their first Saturday afternoon session on 22nd January; that starts at 1.30. Go to http://www.bmusic.co.uk Jazz for details.

There are also some great gigs coming up in February: a double bill of Lara Jones, solo saxophone and electronics, and a duo of Andy Woodhead and Hannah Marshall (piano + cello) at Centrala on Sunday 6th February at 2pm. Then Ruth Goller’s Skylla and Mark Sanders’ CollapseUncollapse in the Hexagon Theatre at mac on Friday 18th February. And Paul Dunmall continues the Paul Dunmall Invites series at the Eastside Jazz Club on Thursday 3rd February (6.30 support, 7.45 main band). On this occasion the invitees are Liam Noble, piano, John Edwards, bass and Mark Sanders, drums. More on those gigs in future posts.

If new Covid regulations are introduced in the future, we will announce any changes to the programme immediately on this site and the Fizzle website. But let’s remain optimistic!

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