I went to my first Jazzlines Free Gig at Symphony Hall this Friday: Jazzlines Trio and the Jazzlines Ensemble. If you are after a bit of fun, relaxation, talent or culture in your Friday evening then Symphony Hall Cafe Bar is the place to be.
The upbeat start from the Jazzlines Ensemble turned a grey, Friday afternoon into what felt like a carnival (albeit a fairly stationary one) and there were smiles all round. The Jazzlines Ensemble is a group of young musicians who attended the Jazzlines summer school. Their playing was generally tight and together but what struck me the most was the incredible confidence of the young people.
Clearly the informal setting provided a great space for the young musicians to experiment and make mistakes in a supportive and encouraging environment. Not that there were many mistakes made: in their third song ‘Centerpiece’ one of the boys played a stunning flute solo (this guy also showed his skills on the saxophone in other pieces) and the laid-back attitude of the whole ensemble was a real joy to watch.
The Jazzlines Trio took to the stage next and was truly fantastic. Comprised of a double bass, a piano and drums, the group was later joined by a trumpeter, saxophonist and singer and the entire performance was stunning. I hurt my head trying to keep up with the drummer’s insanely complex rhythms and the Trio really showcased its skills playing one of pianist Reuben James’ own compositions which was tranquil, beautiful and a delight to listen to.
However, perhaps my favourite observation of the night was the amazing atmosphere in the space and the hugely diverse audience. From school children to OAPs to professionals there was a great mix of people in Birmingham early on a Friday evening, coming together just to enjoy a bit of jazz! I would absolutely recommend it and hope to go to many more of these gigs, which happen every week by the way!