Jazzlines announce new run of Brum shows

By Leigh Sanders | Entertainment | Published: | Last Updated:

A celebration in memory of one of Birmingham's greatest musicians, an appearance by David Bowie’s drummer and concerts featuring some of the best contemporary female bandleaders are among the highlights of Jazzlines' Winter/Spring 2018 programme.

Jazzlines is a unique programme of creative jazz music and Talent Development initiatives based within Performances Birmingham Limited (PBL), the charity that runs Town Hall and Symphony Hall.

It offers performance opportunities to emerging and established contemporary jazz musicians as part of a thriving programme in venues across the city and commissions cutting-edge new work, providing support to ensure future performances and a legacy for new projects.

Kicking things off on January 25, My Iris is the latest ensemble project from saxophonist, BASCA British Composer Award winner and former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Trish Clowes. Well-known for her orchestral arrangements, My Iris sees Clowes explore smaller scale arrangements at Eastside Jazz Club, Birmingham’s newest jazz venue.

On February 7, multi-award-winning vocalist Zara McFarlane explores British-Jamaican identity with her heady combination of jazz, reggae, calypso and more at Kings Heath's Hare and Hounds. A lyrically conscious songwriter, Zara has earned a string of awards including a MOBO, Urban Music Award and JazzFM Award, and was featured singer in the RSC's recent production of Anthony and Cleopatra, performing music written by Birmingham's own Laura Mvula.

The Andy Hamilton Centenary Celebration on March 25 at Town Hall celebrates the life of the legendary jazz musician Andy Hamilton MBE. Born in Jamaica, the tenor saxophonist formed his first band in 1928 before moving to the UK in 1949. Settling in Birmingham, he eventually became a major figure in the city's vibrant music scene. Much missed, Andy passed away in 2012, though his influence continues. Headlining the special concert is The Notebenders Big Band, formed by Andy in Ladywood, who'll perform alongside invited guests and past members.

Three days later, two piano/saxophone duos take to the Symphony Hall stage for an intimate performance. Tori Freestone and Alcyona Mick have fused their different approaches to present a set of original material and contemporary standards with a twist. They're joined by the Stan Sulzmann/Nikki Iles Duo, who've been working together, on and off, for some 20 years.

Recognised as one of the world's leading drummers, Mark Guiliana has worked with such artists as Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam) and neo-soul singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello. But it's his contribution to David Bowie's breath-taking final album, Blackstar, for which he is arguably best known. The Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet are at CBSO Centre on April 27 and sees him perform selections from his acclaimed album, Jersey, and an instrumental reading of Bowie’s poignant Where Are We Now?

Other season highlights include appearances from Midlands-based composer Alicia Gardener-Trejo's 11-piece ensemble Bobtail; Christine Tobin's Pelt, a musical setting for the poems and lyrics of Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Paul Muldoon; and a return for Snowpoet, AKA Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year 2016 Lauren Kinsella.

The programme is supported by the grant made to THSH by Arts Council England under the National Portfolio Organisation scheme.

For more information, including tickets and full programme dates and times, see:

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at

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