Jazz in a Club Atmosphere

The First Gigs

George West, founder of Birmingham Jazz says:

“I founded Birmingham Jazz in 1976 with the help of six other enthusiasts; we each put £25 on my dining room table and said we would promote some concerts for as long as the money held out. Birmingham Jazz has promoted live jazz ever since – a remarkable achievement. Our first concert was with Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia; I’m not sure who were our second but Mike Osborne’s trio with Harry Miller and Tony Levin was the third, on 7 November 1976.

These concerts took place in the Warwick Suite of the Grand Hotel, Colmore Row, Birmingham that was our home base for the first five years."

Garry Corbett adds:

"I remember attending the first concert - Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia - at the Grand Hotel on Colmore Row in Birmingham (September 26th. 1976). Many a blue note has been played in the city since then at Birmingham Jazz gigs.

In those days I was managing Threshold Records in Birmingham Shopping Centre (now the Pallasades). I remember George West, the first chairman of Birmingham Jazz making regular visits to drop off flyers & information about up-coming gigs. I was delighted to be doing my little bit to promote jazz in Birmingham."

George continues:

"I’m not sure who were our second but Mike Osborne’s trio with Harry Miller and Tony Levin was the third, on 7 November 1976.

These concerts took place in the Warwick Suite of the Grand Hotel, Colmore Row, Birmingham that was our home base for the first five years. The musicians gave me permission to record the concert as a souvenir on my Maxwell C180 tape and Yamaha recorder, and it subsequently remained un-played in my files until unearthed in 2009; amazingly the tape had not deteriorated in any way and gives a very high quality documentation of an outstanding evening’s music making.

As there had been no announcements of tune titles, several have proved slightly controversial despite being auditioned by a number of musicians who had known and played with Mike over the years he was active. But what is unquestioned is the creative quality of the Trio’s performance." 

The Mike Osborne Trio recording was issued by Cadillac Records in 2012 and available from Birmingham Jazz - se offer page.