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Sandwell’s libraries and museums take centre stage for Jazz Festival

Sandwell’s libraries and museums are taking centre stage at this month’s Birmingham, Solihull & Sandwell Jazz Festival, which gets under way this Friday (20 July).

One of the many highlights of the festival’s opening weekend is West Bromwich-born jazz legend Val Wiseman’s tribute to Billie Holiday at Central Library West Bromwich at 7pm on Saturday (21 July).

Tickets for Saturday’s Lady Sings The Blues: The Homecoming are available from Central Library in High Street and on Eventbrite.

Sandwell is an official partner in the jazz festival for the second year running, with more than 30 events across the six towns from 20-29 July, most of which are free.

International artists from America, Canada, France, Hungary and Spain will be joining a host of homegrown talent. Go to our jazz festival webpage for full Sandwell listings.

The opening day of the festival, Friday (20 July), sees Chickenbone John, known as ‘The Godfather of the Cigar Box Guitar’, performing his unique show at Great Barr Library at 7pm and American duo Hymn For Her serving a mash-up of country, blues and punk at Thimblemill Library, Smethwick, at 8pm.

On Saturday (21 July), Spain’s New Orleans Jump Band will be entertaining audiences with a truly international quintet at Wednesbury Museum & Art Gallery at 2pm, while Birmingham’s own Roy Forbes will be showcasing his dynamic, soulful vocals at Wednesbury Library at 7pm.

The festival moves to Oak House Museum, West Bromwich, on Sunday (22 July) with British jazz favourites Art Themen Quartet at 2pm.

There’s plenty more to follow next week, with free evening library concerts, afternoon film showings Monday to Saturday at Central Library and afternoon performances on the festival’s closing weekend at Manor House Museum, West Bromwich, and Haden Hill House, Cradley Heath.

Councillor Steve Trow, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for culture and core council services, said: “Our library and museum services have played a key role over the years in developing Sandwell’s increasing role in this international jazz festival.

“Once again they are offering a wonderful programme of concerts and welcoming a feast of homegrown and international talent.

“I hope people from Sandwell, the rest of the Black Country and beyond will really enjoy this 10-day festival and also get to explore our fantastic libraries and museums at the same time.”

Jazz festival events in Sandwell are as follows (free entry unless stated): 

Friday 20 July:

  • 12noon – Sandwell Arts Café, West Bromwich – Arkansas Dave (USA)
  • 7pm – Great Barr Library – Chickenbone John
  • 7pm – Lightwoods Park – Budapest Ragtime Orchestra (Hungary)
  • 8pm – Thimblemill Library, Smethwick – Hymn For Her (USA), £9 (£6 concessions)

Saturday 21 July:

  • 2pm – Wednesbury Museum & Art Gallery – New Orleans Jump Band (Spain)
  • 7pm – Wednesbury Library – Roy Forbes
  • 7pm – West Bromwich Central Library – Lady Sings The Blues: The Homecoming, £8 (£5 concessions)
  • 8pm – The Windsor Theatre Bar, Bearwood – Ricky Cool & The In Crowd

Sunday 22 July:

  • 2pm – Oak House Museum, West Bromwich – Art Themen Quartet

Monday 23 July:

  • 7pm – Great Bridge Library – The Whiskey Brothers

Tuesday 24 July:

  • 7pm – Cradley Heath Library – Justin Randall
  • 8pm – The Windsor Theatre Bar, Bearwood – Roy Forbes Trio
  • 8.30pm – The Perry Hill Tavern, Oldbury – Old Comrades Jazz Band

Wednesday 25 July:

  • 7.30pm – Thimblemill Library, Smethwick – Chris Bowden Trio
  • 8pm – The Windsor Theatre Bar, Bearwood – The Whiskey Brothers

Thursday 26 July:

  • 12.30pm – Queens Square Shopping Centre, West Bromwich – The Shuffle Demons (Canada)
  • 7pm – Bleakhouse Library, Oldbury – Blue Silk
  • 8pm – The Windsor Theatre Bar, Bearwood – Digby Fairweather with Chase Jazzmen

Friday 27 July:

  • 12noon – Sandwell Arts Café, West Bromwich – Les Zauto Stompers de Paris (France)
  • 7pm – West Bromwich Central Library – Ricky Cool & The In Crowd

Saturday 28 July:

  • 2.30pm – Manor House Museum, West Bromwich – Bruce Adams Quartet
  • 7pm – Blackheath Library – Grey Goose Blues Band
  • 8.30pm – Great Barr Conservative Club – Chase Jazzmen, £1

Sunday 29 July:

  • 2pm – Haden Hill House and Park, Cradley Heath – The Rip Roaring Success

Central Library in West Bromwich will also be a series of jazz and blues-themed film showings at 3pm on weekdays during the festival and at 1pm on the two Saturdays (21 and 28 July).

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