Two jumping jazz events to be hosted on Westside this summer

It will be very much a case of ‘All That Jazz’ in Birmingham this summer when two fabulous music events combine to provide a feast of entertainment.

The popular Jazzlines Summer School, which offers young Birmingham musicians the chance to learn from the best, is happily making a return after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s event.

And in a double boost to jazz lovers, the summer school will, for the first time, run alongside a jazz festival featuring international touring artists and local community bands.

The week-long festival, which takes place from Monday 23 August to Saturday 28 August, will take place in partnership with Jazz FM, the largest commercial jazz radio station in the world.

The Jazzlines Summer School, organised by the music charity responsible for the Town Hall and Symphony Hall, runs from August 23 to 27.

The free non-residential course, which is open to musicians aged 11 to 19 from Birmingham and surrounding areas, offers a comprehensive and broad programme aimed at emerging talent with a range of abilities, from beginners to advanced, who wish to expand their playing capability.

The course is designed to develop key skills in areas such as ensemble musicianship and jazz repertoire.

The Jazzlines Summer School is led by professional trumpet and bass player Percy Pursglove and professional vocalist and songwriter Sara Colman, who will be supported by Jazzlines tutors, music educators and specialist jazz performers.

Mary Wakelam Sloan, jazz programme manager at Town Hall Symphony Hall, explained the “flagship” summer school had been held annually since 2012 until the pandemic caused the cancellation of last year’s event.

She said: “We are thrilled that this year we can offer this unique provision to 11-19 year olds in partnership with Jazz FM for the first time.

“Combining the summer school with the festival means that we can offer the chance for the young musicians to see and hear some of the best British talent in action, as well as learning alongside them.”

She added that this year, with a range of guest tutors in the city, the summer school will run in conjunction with a jazz festival.

Performers at the festival include Jazz Ahmed, Jazz FM’s 2020 UK Jazz Act of the Year, Warmer Than Blood, and highly acclaimed Birmingham-born pianist Reuben James.

This will see audiences enjoying free and low-cost performances at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth, on stage at Symphony Hall and in Symphony Hall’s new Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space.

Jazz FM content director Nick Pitts said: “This already looks like it’s going to be a fantastic celebration of Birmingham’s young and vibrant jazz scene, especially after a year of lockdowns.

“Jazz FM has always been a passionate supporter of UK jazz education and we are delighted to be working with the brilliant THSH to help spread the good word of this project.”

For more information,  and to apply for a free Jazzlines Summer School place,  visit: https://www.thsh.co.uk/projects/jazzlines-talent-development-programme/jazzlines-summer-school

By Tony Collins

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