Jazzlines announce Winter/ Spring 2018 programme

Top female artists and a tribute to Birmingham legend feature.

A celebration concert in memory of one of Birmingham’s greatest musicians, David Bowie’s drummer, and a series of concerts featuring some of the best contemporary female bandleaders are among the highlights of Jazzlines’ city-wide Winter/ Spring 2018 programme.

The Andy Hamilton Centenary Celebration (25th March 2018, Birmingham Town Hall) celebrates the life of the legendary jazz musician Andy Hamilton MBE. Born in Jamaica on 26 March 1918, 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 the local community of Ladywood, who’ll perform alongside invited guests and past members.

Multi-award winning vocalist Zara McFarlane (7th February 2018, Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath, above) explores British-Jamaican identity with her heady combination of jazz, reggae, calypso and more. Signed to Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings, her recent album, Arise, was produced by drummer/producer Moses Boyd (of Binker and Moses fame). 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 Laura Mvula.

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 explores smaller scale arrangements with equal confidence (25th Jan 2018, Eastside Jazz Club). Joining her on saxophone at Birmingham’s newest jazz venue are Chris Montague (guitar), Ross Stanley (piano and Hammond organ) and James Maddren (drums).

Two piano/saxophone duos take to the Symphony Hall stage for an intimate performance on 28th March 2018. After working together on the London jazz scene in various large ensembles, including the London Jazz Orchestra, Tori Freestone (Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra, UK All Star Big Band) and Alcyona Mick (Natacha Atlas, Jerry Dammers Spatial Orchestra, Zoe Rahman) 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 Brad Mehldau (as duo Mehliana), 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 (27th April 2018, CBSO Centre) sees him perform selections from his acclaimed album, Jersey, an infectious collection of boundary-pushing acoustic tracks that includes 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 (17th January, Symphony Hall); Christine Tobin’s Pelt (10th February, CBSO Centre), a musical setting for the poems and lyrics of Pulitzer Prize winning American poet Paul Muldoon; Mercury Prize nominated Dinosaur pianist Elliot Galvin (14th March, Hare and Hounds), whose solo album, The Influencing Machine, is released on 26th January; and a return for Snowpoet (19th April, Hare and Hounds), aka Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year 2016 Lauren Kinsella and composer/multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson, whose second album, Thought You Knew, is due in February.

For more information, including tickets and full programme, see: www.thsh.co.uk/jazzlines