Thursday night at the Glasgow Jazz Festival sees at least three concerts which under normal circumstances I’d class as “must sees”. However the timings mean you’re going to have to miss at least one of them

At 7.30pm in the City Halls Grand Hall, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra team up with the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers to present “Worlds of the Gods”, a show which, judging by last year’s performance at the RSAMD, will not only be musically excellent, but will be one of the most theatrically impressive jazz performances since Sun Ra left the planet.

At 9pm, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, ex-Jazz Messenger and composer of most of Spike Lee’s film soundtracks plays the Old Fruitmarket with his Quintet. There’s no indication of who else is in the band, but it will probably be similar to the one which is playing the Copenhagen Jazz Festival a week or so later: Fabian Almazan (piano), Brice Winston (sax), Michael Olatuja (bass) and Kendrick Scott (drums). (Can anyone remember: was Blanchard in the Jazz Messengers line-up which played at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh in the early 80s?)

There’s no uncertainty about the line-up at the 9.30pm gig in the Recital Room: the Warren Vaché – Brian Kellock duo. As the Festival programme accurately says, this is “a rare chance to hear two world-class jazz stars in such an intimate setting”.

But there’s more:

  • Dennis Rollins’ Velocity Trio, a trombone-organ-drums variant on the classic organ trio, are at the Recital Room at 7.30pm
  • Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble are at the Tron at 8pm
  • French pianist Benjamin Moussay‘s Trio are at Glasgow Art Club, also at 8pm

There’s also the first in a series of performances at Platform in Easterhouse: legendary Ethiopian vibes player, percussionist and organist Mulatu Astatke (also sometimes transliterated Astatqé). Astatke was the first African musician to study at Berklee, went on to pioneer a combination of Ethiopian music and jazz which he called “Ethio-Jazz” before being forced into exile during the military dictatorship of the late 70s and 80s.

If you’re going to this, or any of the other gigs at Platform, there are buses to and from the show running from the city centre. They leave from outside Mono in King’s Court at 7pm and you can book a return ticket from Monorail record shop for £4 (0141 552 9458). This is slightly dearer than a service bus, but it’s a bit quicker and the departure times are co-ordinated with the concert times. (They all start at 7.30pm). You can also get a train to Easterhouse Station (on the Helensburgh – Queen Street – Airdrie – Edinburgh line) but it’s about fifteen minutes walk from there to the venue.

Finally, singer Madaleine Pritchard is at Brel, starting at 8pm, and Manchester’s Alex Douglas Group lead off the music at the Late Night Club at the Thistle Hotel.

Full details of all the concerts on the Glasgow Jazz Festival site.

Here’s Mulatu Astake: