Dave Liebman/Richie Beirach, Christine & Ingrid Jensen and Mark Turner head to Birmingham’s Eastside Jazz Club

Jazz in the Midlands got a huge boost with the opening in September of a state of the art £57million premises for Birmingham Conservatoire, which is now home to the Eastside Jazz Club and will present the first gig of its autumn programme tonight with revered US saxophonist David Liebman lining up with longtime piano collaborator Richie Beirach (pictured), ahead of more appearances by stellar US and UK artists.

The first purpose-built UK music college in a generation, there is no less than five venues within the main building, with a large 500-seater concert hall, 150-seat recital room, 100-seat experimental 'lab' space, the 80 seat Eastside Jazz Club and a 100-seat organ studio. The top-spec technical facilities available also include a £2.5million audiovisual and lighting package, while the building itself features high-calibre acoustic treatment of all spaces, 100 practice rooms for students, a stage capable of accommodating a full orchestra, recording studio and a large public foyer space with floor to ceiling glazing over three floors.

The new venue will host the biannual BBC Young Musician competition, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year in March 2018. Head of Jazz at the Birmingham conservatoire, Jeremy Price said: "I lobbied hard at the planning stage to get our jazz club included from the outset. I took architects and designers down to Ronnie Scott's to help explain that very special space that jazz thrives on; where the audience are there to listen, but they can relax and have a good time, and where the feel is of one social it Eastside Jazz Club: Birmingham, and plan to programme music throughout the week. Monday to Wednesday will be student gigs, including the Jazz Orchestra and Ellington Orchestra alternating on Monday nights, and the best of student combos Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday nights will be 'guest nights' that we can also tie in with masterclasses in the afternoon before. For these we already have lined up Dave Liebman, Richie Beirach, Gilad Hekselman, Mark Turner, Christine and Ingrid Jensen and Ben Monder. Friday is for commercial hire and Saturday is offered to the local scene. The students are going to be in jazz heaven!"

With some high-calibre international and UK names set to appear, each one preceded by an opening set from a local jazz group, the twice-monthly programme kicks off tonight with David Liebman & Richie Beirach (5 Oct) and continues with Oli Rockberger (13 Oct); Christine & Ingrid Jensen with Ben Monder (2 Nov) Jeremy Price Quartet with Rex Richardson (9 Nov); Gilad Hekselman Trio with Mark Turner (16 Nov) and Stan Sulzmann with Eastside Jazz Club Trio (30 Nov).

Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.bcu.ac.uk

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