Culture: History of Black Music Entertaining; Peter Bacon's Jazz Diary

The Birmingham Post (England), October 22, 2003 | Go to article overview

Culture: History of Black Music Entertaining; Peter Bacon's Jazz Diary


Byline: Peter Bacon

Music and education rarely combine as successfully as they do in trombonist Dennis Rollins' new project, a music, dance and visual piece called From Griots t' Garage. Griots are the story-tellers of Africa, the very root for players of the music which has grown and flowered throughout the world. Garage is, of course, the dance music that has flourished in the last few years.

Tomorrow, Dennis, his trombone, a set of effects pedals triggering all manner of accompaniments, and dancer Perry Louis will take a Mac audience from black music's origins right through blues and jazz to drum 'n' bass and beyond.

From Griots t' Garage is devised especially for Black History Month, and went down very well at the Lichfield Garrick recently. My 12year-old daughter was as impressed and entertained as her parents, so it's an ideal family evening out.

The Mac (Midlands Arts Centre) Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, tomorrow night at 8pm. Box office: 0121 440 3838.

The number 606 has a special meaning for jazz fans. It was the name of the famous jazz club in Chelsea, and now the tradition is upheld by The Crowne Plaza at the NEC, which has a bar inspired by the 606.

The hotel is launching a new jazz series this Friday at 8pm in the bar with a double bill featuring highpowered Venezuelan pianist Edgar Macias with his trio and a Londonbased Latin Jazz group called Balangandan, led by percussionist Tim Dodd.

Birmingham jazz lovers will be familiar with Macias, but Balangandan needs some introduction. It is a five-piece Latin band, formed in 1996, and features an international line-up of musicians from Latin America, Europe, and the US.

After releasing debut CD En Cha in 1999 the band was voted 'Band of the Year' by Jazz Live.

On Friday, the groove starts at 8pm and goes on 'til 11pm.

There will also be events on Friday, November 21, and Friday, December 19.

The Crowne Plaza can be reached down the Coventry Road (A45) and by following the signs for the NEC just after the exit for the M42.

Further down the A45 it's Coventry Jazz territory, and they start a series of sessions at Biggin Hall with Tom Arthurs' Centripede, tomorrow night.

The long gap since the last performance at this atmospheric venue has been due to refurbishment of the upstairs room. Jazz Coventry has promoted gigs at the Biggin since the 1980s, with regular performances by poll-winning musicians such as Peter King, Alan Skidmore, Stan Tracey and the like.

'We have always encouraged new musicians', says co-organiser Bob Marriott. …

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