BIRMINGHAM International Jazz Festival begins this Friday with the Alan Barnes Quartet and Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen among the star attractions.
The festival lasts ten days and features not only a host of top British musicians but also international visitors from the United States, Holland, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Among them is the American tenor saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, who was musical director for James Brown and also played with Van Morrison.
One of the highlights of the festival is an all-star jam session at the Botanical Gardens on July 9, featuring trumpeters Digby Fairweather and Enrico Tomasso, Robert Fowler and Art Themen on saxophones, trombonists Mark Nightingale and Ian Bateman and Val Wiseman on vocals.
Included in the line-up of events are two lunchtime jazz sessions at Touchwood in Solihull, by Greg Abate with the John Patrick Trio on July 10 and the Kel Elliott Band on July 12.
The Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra, led by Solihull’s John Ruddick, are taking part in a “battle of the bands” with the Garry Allcock All Stars Big Band at The Barn, Witton, on July 12.
About 90 per cent of the gigs are free. For detailed information about events go to birminghamjazzfestival.com The booking hotline for the charged gigs is 0121 454 7020.