Jazz in a Club Atmosphere

About the Festival

The Birmingham Jazz and other art forms Festival, one of the most important of its kind in the world, speaks for itself. Meticulous planning takes place all year round to produce a festival that manages to balance heavyweight artists with up-and-coming names in a programme that is always appealing.

This year’s Legends Festival takes its lead from the iconic Blue Note record label; now into its 75th Year.  To Curate the whole Festival, we have engaged the locally based international Trumpet Player Bryan Corbett to put together a theme or two and deliver four different versions of the Blue Note style; interspaced with top bands and a some up and coming bands.

In addition to the main theme we have a line-up of outstanding International Artists bringing you original instruments, themes and grooves.  These bands cover: a string quartet; Jazz Harp and Spanish Accents plus the finale by the great British band Partisans.

Surrounding the Festival will be talks, exhibitions and a set of images in the style of the Blue Note Album covers.  

Some free gigs with ticketed headline gigs. Weekend and Day Tickets available.

Friday 19th May 2017

12.30pm Red Lion     £8/Students £3/Members £0

Staff and Students from BCU free admission

Birmingham Conservatoire Tony Levin Drum Prize

We host this Drum Prize with four finalists from the current crop of Drum Students battling it out for the prestige Tony Levin Prize.

2.30pm Coffee Tales    Free

David Ferris Organ Trio

A tribute to the Blue Note Star Jimmy Smith, the founder of the Organ Trio.  

David Ferris organ, Ben Lee guitar, Billy Weir drums

5.00pm Red Lion £12.50/£10 Members/Students £5

Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet

They will be paying tribute to one of the most amazing couples in jazz history by exploring their musical and spiritual connections through their extensive contribution to jazz. They celebrate the double anniversary of Alice Coltrane's birth and death (1937-2007) by performing her original compositions dedicated to her husband along with his famous works "Naima", "Dahomey Dance" and "After The Rain".

Alina Bzhezhinska - HARP; Tony Kofi - SAXOPHONE; Larry Bartley - BASS; Joel Prime - DRUMS. 

8.00pm Red Lion £12.50/£10 Members/Students £5

The Bryan Corbett National All Star Band

The first outing for the Festival Curator with his national band.  They will present iconic tunes from two Blue Note records. Bryan Corbett trumpet/flugelhorn, Paul Booth sax, Mark Ridout guitar, Chris Dodd bass

Luke Flowers drums

Saturday 20th May 2017

10.30am Saint Kitchen Free

Bryan Corbett Trio

The BC Trio present a chill out morning session of beautiful mellow ballads and standards interspersed with a 'Plug into Jazz' Q & A session led by Al Gurr into the mind set and understanding of how jazz and a jazz musician works for the non-jazz musician. Bryan Corbett trumpet/flugelhorn, Al Gurr piano, Stuart Barker bass

2.00pm Red Lion £12.50/£10 Members/Students £5

Tony Kofi Ornette Coleman Tribute

Tony Kofi has been involved with many world class jazz projects led by others over the years. Here he has put together a project which draws inspiration from one of the game changers of the last century, Ornette Coleman. In addition to his forays into free jazz Ornette was a composer of really good tunes some of which have become jazz standards.

Tony Kofi saxes, Byron Wallen trumpet, Larry Bartley bass, Rod Youngs drums

5.00pm Red Lion £12.50/£10 Members/Students £5

Bryan Corbett Quartet featuring Ed Jones

Bryan’s regular quartet presents music from his latest album 'Message Of Iridescence'.  One of the finest quartets around, with a focus for ensemble as a whole is joined by special guest saxophonist Ed Jones.  Bryan and Ed met whilst working together for the Legendary Jazz/Hip-Hop outfit 'Us3'. Ed being a founder member of the former 'Blue Note' label band.

Bryan Corbett trumpet/flugelhorn, Ed Jones sax, Al Gurr keys, Ben Markland bass,

Neil Bullock drums

8.00pm Red Lion £12.50/£10 Members/Students £5

Kate Williams Four Plus Three

Kate brings her seven piece ensemble back to the Festival adding  a few Blue Note tunes to the set - there's plenty to choose from!  She is working on an arrangement of McCoy Tyner's ‘Search For Peace’; so something to look forward to.  There will also be a chance of some early Herbie Hancock tunes that would also work well with this line up.

Kate Williams piano, Oli Hayhurst bass, David Ingamells drums, John Garner violin, Marie Scheer violin, Francis Gallagher viola, Sergo Serra cello

Sunday 21st May 2017 - Special Day Tikets available, including one with  Brucnh at Saint Kitchen included.

11.30am Saint Kitchen    Free

Nick Dewhurst Quintet

This is a new outing for this popular Lichfield based trumpet player.  He will deliver up a fine jazz breakfast in the Saint Kitchen; playing the Blue Note numbers made famous by Kenny Dorham.

Nick Dewhurst trumpet, Tom Lindsay, Tom Moore bass, Callum Roxburgh tenor, Carl Hemmingsley drums

1.00pm Saint Kitchen Free

Sean Gibbs Quintet

This fine young band led by Trumpeter Sean Gibbs.  For this set they will be performing tunes by Sean favorite Legend from Blue Note Lee Morgan.

Sean Gibbs trumpet, John Fleming sax, Dave Ferris keys, Nick Jurd bass, Jonathan Silk drums

3.30pm UCB £12.50/£10 Members/Students £5

Bryan Corbett’s Local All-Star Sextet - Blue 'n' Groovy

Kicking off an afternoon in the UCB McIntyre building, for his final performance in this years Festival, Bryan brings together all the local stars he is most associated with.  This Corbett finale with be a Blue 'n' Groovy one drawing on a couple of Blue Note albums.

Bryan Corbett trumpet/flugelhorn, Chris Bowden sax, Fred Thelonious Baker bass, Chris Taylor keys, Pete Harris guitar, Ian Palmer drums

5.30pm UCB £12.50/£10 Members/Students £5

Alec Dankworth’s Spanish Accents

Alec Dankworth’s long-standing love of all things Spanish provided the inspiration for this group. Metheny, Corea, Rodrigo are reinvented alongside traditional folk songs and originals creating a wonderful and genuinely Spanish world. The band features the beautiful voice of daughter Emily Dankworth and the flamenco dancing and palmas of Jesus Olmedo, along with heady mix of top British musicians and Spanish drumwork.

Alec Dankworth bass,  Emily Dankworth voice, Jesus Olmedo dance/palmas, Mark Lockheart sax, Phil Robson guitar, Chris Garrick, Demi Garcia percussion

8.00pm UCB £12.50/£10 Members/Students £5


The finale of this year’s Festival is one of the UK’s own Legendary bands.  After a long period of absence this famous quartet have reformed.  This is part of a short national tour they are undertaking whilst Phil Robson is over from NYC.

Phil Robson guitar, Julian Siegel saxes, Thad Kelly bass, Gene Calderazzo drums