The free jazz and improvised music scene in Birmingham continues to thrive. In the last fortnight we have witnessed two excellent concerts with Emil Karlsen’s Tern + Richard Scott solo for Fizzle at the Centrala Gallery, and the Ripsaw Catfish + Richard Foote Double Trombone Quintet for TDE Promotions in the lovely Hexagon Theatre at mac. We also partnered with the Flatpack Film Festival to create a special event for all ages with animation and live improvisation.
I think we can convincingly promise that the October programme will be equally good. It starts with Mark Sanders’ CollapseUncollapse with the Steve Saunders/Christos Stylianides Duo in support. That’s at Centrala on Sunday 3rd October, 2pm. Then we have the return of the Paul Dunmall Invites series on Thursday 7th October with Paul inviting Percy Pursglove, Olie Brice and Jeff Williams. On Thursday 14th October Andrew Woodhead launches the Cd of his Pendulums project with bellringers and improvising ensemble. Coming up at the end of the month are a duo + trio session with Xhosa Cole, Neil Charles and Mark Sanders in the Hexagon on Thursday 28th and then TDE Promotions moves into the Main Theatre at mac with Cleveland Watkiss’ The Great Jamaican Songbook on Saturday 30th.
A bit about each of the main acts:
CollapseUncollapse Sunday 3rd October, 2pm Centrala, Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, Digbeth Birmingham
This is essentially a percussion + electronics project led by Mark on the drums with support from Chris Mapp on electric bass and pedals, and Andrew Woodhead on electronics. The band made its first recording in a video session for TDE Promotions/Fizzle at Sansom Studios earlier this year; you can see this here. It’s a wonderful example of inventive drumming with very interesting interruptions and contributions from the electronic sounds of Chris and Andrew. They have continued to work on the project and have recorded a whole album’s worth of audio material that they are planning to put out on a CD. Live it should be amazing! Guitarist Steve Saunders and trumpeter Christos Stylianides are two of the top graduates from Birmingham’s jazz; they make an excellent pairing and will provide just the right support for the main act
Paul Dunmall Invites Thursday 7th October Support band at 6.30, Main act at 7.45 Details of how to book tbc
The invited guests for this first Paul Dunmall Invites post lockdown session will be trumpeter Percy Pursglove, bass player Olie Brice and drummer Jeff Williams. It is a group that came together for the 2020 Ideas of Noise Festival, and one dreamt up by Percy and Olie who wanted see what would happen if Paul and Jeff were brought together. It really worked and they recorded a CD titled Palindromes on Olie’s West Hill label. It turned out to be even more of a joy than we had imagined – Olie Brice
Andrew Woodhead’s Pendulums Project Thursday 14th October, 7pm St. Paul’s Church St Paul’s Square
The Pendulums project is one of the most original new projects devised in the UK for many years. It brings together an improvising group of musicians and a team of bellringers. The music initially contrasts the two groups, but over the piece there is a convergence with the bellringers taking on some of the rhythms of the improvisers, and the improvisers influenced by the bellringers’ patterns. It is a fascinating process. I am also looking forward to hearing Lara Jones‘ solo set. Should be great in the lovely St. Paul’s Church. Tickets at the http://www.fizzlebirmingham.com site
Xhosa Cole Duos and Trio Thursday 28th October 8pm Hexagon Theatre
Xhosa Cole has shot into prominence in the last year with a national tour and a debut album on Stoney Lane Records. He is a fine player in a style influenced by the great American saxophonists, notably Sonny Rollins. He is, however, extremely flexible, and also loves to play in a free style. He was a key member of Rachel Musson’s I Went This Way group and has played regularly with Mark Sanders. Here he continues his musical relationship with Mark and brings in bass player Neil Charles for a session of duos and a trio. Xhosa will play in duo with Mark, also with Neil, and Mark and Neil will play in duo. The second set will be a trio set. This could be the gig of the autumn! Early booking is recommended; you can do so here.
Cleveland Watkiss and the Great Jamaican Songbook Saturday 30th October, 8pm Main Theatre, mac
Cleveland Watkiss is the finest male singer on the British scene. He was born in London to Jamaican parents and grew up listening to the greats of Jamaican music, performers such as Dennis Brown, Jacob Miller, The Wailers, Burning Spear, Delroy Wilson and Gregory Isaacs. Cleveland will be paying tribute to these great singers with a really strong band, which will feature Orphy Robinson, Byron Wallen and Ray Carless. Romarna Campbell Trio will play the support slot. Romarna has returned from her course at Berklee in USA, and from the drums leads a very creative trio. Tickets are available here.