Three Great Gigs In Three Days

In two weeks we see a run of three gigs in three days presented by TDE Promotions: Xhosa Cole with Blacktop at mac on Tuesday 28th June, Steve Saunders’ Abstract Vision of a Foreign Land on the flipped stage at Symphony Hall on Wednesday 29th June and the launch of Chris Bowden’s Hypnos Files at the Hare & Hounds on Thursday 30th June. Three very different gigs in three very different venues.

It’s tempting to call it a mini-festival, a TDE Promotions Special or some such name. But the complications of ticketing across three different venues rule that out, so we’ll settle for calling it an amazing sequence of great gigs. What it certainly is a confirmation of the vitality and strength of the Birmingham scene in the area of contemporary jazz and improvised music.

Each gig is different and one of the reasons I feel confident in presenting this run of madness is that each one is likely to appeal to a slightly different audience.

A word about each one of these:

BLACK TOP with XHOSA COLE: Black Top is Orphy Robinson (vibes. electronics and percussion) and Pat Thomas (piano); they specialise in setting up particular projects with special musicians, and it is a great honour that their latest version is in Birmingham with Xhosa Cole, a player who has emerged from the local scene to become a very important national figure. Black Top’s approach is based on free improvisation, but differs from other approaches to free improv in that it may draw on various styles of black music as well as jazz and improv. It will be fascinating to hear Xhosa in this context; he enjoys playing free as well as in more traditional styles, and, in fact, does not make a distinction between the two. I suspect the music will be quite varied, intense at times, gentle at others, and, above all, good fun.

You can book here.

STEVE SAUNDERS’ ABSTRACT VISIONS OF A FOREIGN LAND: This concert will feature an extended composition for an 11-member ensemble with a string quartet as well as the more expected jazz instrumentation; it is thus a very different event from the Black Top concert. Steve Saunders is a guitarist and composer whose writing has been influenced by French contemporary composers such as Gerard Gisey and Tristan Murail, but is closer to the compositions of Tyshawn Sorey whose blend of jazz and minimalism is unique. Steve has a great band with Sam Wooster, Chris Young, Xhosa Cole, Dave Sear, Josh Vadiveloo, Jim Bashford as well as the string section of Sarah Farmer, Maja Pluta, Natalie Mason and Emma Capp Baron. This should be a very special concert on the flipped stage at Symphony Hall: band and audience on the stage.

You can book here.

CHRIS BOWDEN AND THE HYPNOS FILES: Any new project of Chris Bowden‘s is a very special event. Chris is known for his role in the acid jazz scene back in the 1990s, and two special albums that drew on the music of that era but enriched it in a variety of ways. They were Time Capsule and Slightly Askew. This new project brings together the vocals of Louise Warren and the drumming of Neil Bullock with another amazing set of arrangements from Chris Bowden and Chris’ magical playing on the alto sax. There will be support set from Echo Juliet, playing an instrumental set based on percussion rather than a DJ set.

You can book here.

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