PREVIEW: February live highlights in the West Midlands

Alex Munk - at the Spotted Dog in Digbeth on Valentine's Day


Editor-at-Large Peter Bacon picks the choice gigs close to his home. And remember, it’s often quicker to get up to Birmingham than to get to the other side of London. Peter writes:

Here is a bunch of gigs worth getting to, though I have to admit, you will need to slice yourself in three tonight to get to all my recommendations.

Today, Friday 3 February

Duke Ellington “We Love You Madly” is the title of the debut performance by the Birmingham Conservatoire Ellington Orchestra. The student band boasts two Dukes: John Turville adds the cryptic piano bits while waving the jazz baton is Jeremy Price. Birmingham Town Hall, 7.30pm.

More at THSH

Fini Bearman, singer and songwriter, brought out a new album late last year and will be performing material from it in the intimate upstairs room which is host to Birmingham Jazz’s gigs. Read an interview/preview at LondonJazz News The Red Lion, Warstone Lane, 7.45pm.

More at Birmingham Jazz







Young Pilgrims



Pilgrimage is the regular bi-monthly knees-up hosted by Richard Foote’s red hot street band Young Pilgrims. They are barely confined by the legendary Hare & Hounds and have Strobes and Three Step Manoeuvre as their guests. Jazzlines present this three-header. Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, 8.30pm.

More at THSH

Tuesday 7 February

Singer Anthony Marsden will be jetting off later this month to perform Miles Ahead in Manhattan as part of London Vocal Project (NEWS STORY), but here he introduces his new band at this hugely popular weekly pub session. Jazz at The Spotted Dog, Digbeth, 9pm.

More at Jazz at The Spotted Dog

Wednesday 8 February

The heavyweights gather for promoters Fizzle and TDE Promotions: visitors Evan Parker and Nate Wooley alongside local boys Mark Sanders and Percy Pursglove get all duo improv on the assembly. Mac, Cannon Hill Park, 8.15pm.

More at mac Birmingham

Thursday 9 February

Another quartet of heavyweights, this time in one transatlantic band with Birmingham drummer Jim Bashford the driving force, Liam Noble on piano, John O’Gallagher on saxophone and Drew Gress on double bass. COGS Bar, 8pm.

More at Jazz Therapy

Tuesday 14 February

Real flying machines were Roger Munk’s life work, and Flying Machines is the name of his son Alex’s band and latest album. Alex Munk (guitar), Matt Robinson (piano), Conor Chaplin (bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums) touch down in Digbeth near the start of a mammoth UK tour. The Spotted Dog, 9pm.

More at Jazz at The Spotted Dog

Thursday 16/Friday 17 February

Pianist Mark Pringle has been studying and playing around Europe since graduating from Birmingham Conservatoire. He’s in town for two co-led gigs with trumpeter Tom Syson, and it’s great to have him back, albeit briefly. COGS Bar, 8pm, on Thursday; Symphony Hall Cafe Bar, 5pm, on Friday.

More at Jazz Therapy and THSH



Thursday 23 February

[Update] Alicia Gardener-Trejo's Chordless Quintet gig mentioned in the first version of this post has been postponed.


For a one-stop guide to these gigs and lots more, there’s a bi-monthly publication of which Peter Bacon is one of the editorial team: Jazz In Birmingham

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