Solstice celebration

Birmingham Jazz are presenting an unsuual combination this week.

Solstice is a collaboration between some of the foremost bandleaders and composers emerging from the thriving east London music scene; the E17 group. Musically, it’s hard to define – somewhere between the French pianist Pierre de Bethmann’s group, Hermeto Pascoal and a kind of downtown New York sound, but it’s one that keeps evolving.

Having toured with their own groups extensively throughout the UK, Europe and some other planets with their own projects and artists such as Kenny Wheeler, Tim Garland, Andy Sheppard, Gilad Atzmon, Dave Binney, Django Bates, Jasper Hoiby and Ivo Neame, they have now come together united by a shared love of music and food to write and eat collectively. They have a unified sound drawing on influences from Brazil, New York, and France such as Hermeto Pascoal, Edward Simon and Pierre de Bethmann, whilst retaining a uniquely British identity. Their culinary and musical explorations continue with the release of their debut album Alimentation.

Solstice is kind of part band, part dinner club – they’re all into cooking (and food in general!) so it’s very much about the social thing as well as the music. This comes across during their performances – although everyone contributes their own, very individual compositions (ingredients if you will), there is a wonderful feeling of group synergy with a seamless flow between composed and improvised sections. They’ve also gone to town on the food titles – the album itself is called Alimentation, and the individual tracks all have wacky food titles – Avocado Deficit, Mourning Porridge and The Ultimate Big Cheese for a start.

Solstice play the Red Lion UAB, Warstone Lane, on Friday 31st March. Admission £12.50, members £10, students £5.

Birmingham Jazz information