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Culture: Trumpet treat for jazz lovers; Peter Bacon's Jazz Diary.

Byline: Peter Bacon

They are jazz's SAS troops, lovers of danger, the most exposed, the most vulnerable, often the biggest risktakers, usually the nerviest, though seldom nervous. Trumpeters are an edgy lot, as anyone who has studied Guy Barker's on-stage mannerisms for long will understand.

Some of them, like the myth-laden first man of jazz Buddy Bolden, are on the edge of sanity; others, like Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, hide the tension behind a joker's persona.

Some, like Miles and Kenny Wheeler, are quiet and intense.

Others, like Cat Anderson, are bold and brash. Surely, Ellington's trumpeter who loved the high notes is the subject of one of my favourite phrases in jazzspeak -of who else could you more accurately comment: 'that cat blows strictly for canines'?

The highly inventive modern British trumpeter Byron Wallen brings a programme dedicated to The Trumpet Kings to the CBSO Centre on Saturday.

It's an extended piece specially commissioned by Birmingham Jazz, and promises to give musical namechecks to Buddy and Louis, Dizzy and Clifford Brown, Miles and Kenny, as well as the strong southern African trumpeters Hugh Masekela and Mongezi Feza.

Wallen epitomises the broad scope and wide musical interests of the modern British jazz musician. He has played with everyone from Hugh Masekela and David Murray to Grace Jones and Red Snapper. His interests stretch across the world and he has played and researched the music of Indonesia and East Africa as well as the American jazz tradition.

Joining Byron Wallen are Julian Siegel and Tony Kofi on saxophones, Trevor Mires on trombone, Nick Ramm on piano, Finn Peters on flute, Larry Bartley on bass and Tom Skinner on drums.

The Byron Wallen Octet play the CBSO Centre, Berkley St, Birmingham on Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are pounds 10 (pounds 7.50 Birmingham Jazz members and concessions). For more information see or If it's not too late, you could dash from the Wallen gig across to Bennetts Wine Bar to catch the end of their regular Saturday evening sessions run by Perry Hemus of Woodland Records. This week it's the Woodland Collective plus Jazz Lab DJs.

On Sunday Jean Grunfeld and her trio are at the White Swan in Stratford.

Jean mixes the blues and Latin material in with jazz standards and recently released her second album, Bright Lights, Big City on the 33Jazz label. On the disc she is accompanied by Dick Pearce on trumpet and Mornington Lockett on tenor in addition to the piano trio.

The White Swan is in Rother St, Stratford-on-Avon, and the gig starts at 8pm, admission free. More info on 01789 297022.

On Tuesday, the regulars at Moseley's Old Mo get a little Fizzle added to their pints, courtesy of drummer Mark Sanders and his guests.

This time they are saxophonist Martin Speake and bass player Duncan Hopkins, visiting from Canada.

The Fizzle has become an important venue for the free end of improvised music, and past guests have included Peter Brotzmann, Sunny Murray and Larry Stabbins.

Fizzle at the Old Moseley Arms, Tindal Street, Moseley, Birmingham is on Tuesday April 6, at 8.45pm. pounds 5 (pounds 4).

For further details see or And if you can't wait for the weekend for your next live jazz fix, then the Quality/Boundary Hotel, Birmingham Rd, Walsall is the place to head for.

Tomorrow night the always-excellent Walsall Jazz Orchestra will be raising the roof. They're sensational at festivals and in concerts; place them in a club setting and even more risks are taken.

More information on 01922 635262. Finally, there are some very clever and creative people working to make sure future generations take the music forward. One such group is Sound It Out which, for the last ten years, has been bringing music to, and more importantly out from, the community.

In collaboration with Birmingham Jazz, Sound It Out presents an evening of improvised and fusion influenced music created by pupils from Hamstead Hall and Hodge Hill schools under the leadership of Sid Peacock.

It's Upstairs at the Irish Centre in High Street, Deritend on Friday, starting at 7pm. Tickets are pounds 3.50 (pounds 2 concessions).

For more details call Sound It Out on 0121 773 7322.

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Byron Wallen
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 31, 2004
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