A memorial service for the legendary trumpet and flugelhorn player, Kenny Wheeler, is to be held at St. James Church, Sussex Gardens, Paddington, London W2 3UD on Friday 31 October.

The service, which is open to members of the public, commemorates the celebrated musician, composer, bandleader and educator who passed away aged 84 on 18 September, and will feature music by Wheeler’s big band and quintet, and contemporary vocal ensemble, The London Vocal Project.

In addition to readings and remembrances, there will be tribute performances by many long-standing collaborators and friends of the veteran player, including fellow trumpeter Henry Lowther, saxophonists Evan Parker, Stan Sulzmann and Julian Argüelles, singer Norma Winstone, drummers John Hollenbeck and Martin France, pianists John Taylor and Glauco Venier, and double-bassist Chris Laurence.

“Our family has been so touched by the outpouring of emotion and support over the last month.”, said Kenny’s daughter Louanne and son Mark, “We invite everyone who would like to come along to celebrate the life and music of our Dad, and say a final farewell to him in the company of a great number of his favourite musicians.”

The service will commence at 2.30pm and is free to attend.

– Steve Owen

Rising star bassist and bandleader Max Luthert releases his debut solo album, Orbital, on Whirlwind Recordings on Monday 27 October ahead of a five-day UK tour in January 2015. Known for his work with Zara McFarlane and for his long-running work with acclaimed trio Partikel, Luthert has brought together a strong lineup featuring Seb Pipe (alto sax), Gareth Lockrane (flutes), Matt Robinson (piano), Dave Hamblett (drums) and Partikel band-mate Duncan Eagles (tenor saxophone), and will launch the album at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho on Monday 20 October 2014.

The Orbital project features nine original compositions written for a sextet of flute, alto and tenor sax plus rhythm section. Building on his contribution to the success of Partikel’s two well-received albums – 2010’s eponymous debut and the follow-up Cohesion in 2012 – Luthert’s solo album reflects his strengths as a composer as much as a bassist. Following the launch of the album, which is released on 27 October, Luthert will kick off 2015 with a UK tour at the following venues: Ashburton Jazz Club, Devon (18 Jan); North Devon Jazz Club, Appledore (19 Jan); The Spotted Dog, Birmingham (20 Jan); Dempsey’s, Cardiff (21 Jan); SoundCellar, Poole (22 Jan); Sheffield Jazz Club (23 Jan); and Modern Jazz Club, Southampton (25 Jan).

– Steve Owen

For more info go to www.whirlwindrecordings.com/max-luthert/

Mercury Prize nominees Polar Bear are to make a rare West Country appearance when they top the Calstock Jazz and Blues Festival later this month alongside a special duo performance by Claire Martin and Ian Shaw. The festival, which is located in the pretty Cornish village of Calstock, runs from 23-26 October with main performances at Calstock Arts in the Old Chapel and events and workshops taking place around the village.

The festival opens with ‘Songs from a Small Train’ featuring local composers, singers and the Calstock Big Jazz Choir at St Andrews on 23 October. Claire Martin and Ian Shaw perform a special 70th birthday tribute show to Joni Mitchell in the Old Chapel on 24 October; Craig Milverton presents Jazz Piano Legends and guitarist Antonio Forcione plays in a duo with percussionist Adriano Adewale at the Old Chapel on 25 October and Polar Bear close out the festival on 26 October, also at the Old Chapel. The band will also perform at the Mercury Prize awards ceremony at the Roundhouse in Camden on 29 October when the winner will be revealed live on Channel 4 at 10pm.

– Jon Newey


For more information and ticket details visit www.calstockjazzfestival.co.uk

British improv sax giant Evan Parker is set to mark his 70th birthday year with a momentous week of gigs at two venues close to his heart, The Vortex and Café OTO, both in London’s Dalston. Internationally acclaimed for his boundary pushing saxophone techniques and his relentless creativity Parker will perform in seven different line-ups over as many nights beginning on 20 October at Café OTO in a unique meeting with renowned Australian improv trio The Necks. Things then move to The Vortex with a busy triple bill that sees Parker duet with saxophonist Joe McPhee, and a trio of US drummer Chris Corsano and UK bassist John Edwards, then a final quartet featuring all four musicians (21 Oct).

The rest of the week then features Parker with Eddie Prévost and John Tilbury (Café OTO, 22 Oct); in a trio with Black Top plus a trio with John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble (The Vortex, 23 Oct); a trio with guitarist John Russell and John Edwards (Café OTO, 24 Oct); with Trance Map featuring Matt Wright on electronics, cellist Hannah Marshall and bassist Barry Guy (The Vortex, 25 Oct); and finally Parker performs with his Electro-Acoustic Ensemble (Café OTO, 26 Oct). A limited number of seven-day passes are available at £70.

­– Mike Flynn


For more info see www.vortexjazz.co.uk or www.cafeoto.co.uk

Finnish trumpeter Verneri Pohjola, a rising star of the European jazz scene and winner of the Musician of the Year award at the 2004 Pori Jazz Festival, is set to release a new album, Bullhorn, his debut on the Edition Records label, which will be available in the UK from 2 February 2015. Pohjola will be previewing material from the release when he appears at the Forge in Camden on Tuesday 14 October and will be touring in April 2015, with dates soon to be announced.

The new album is his third as leader, following two highly regarded outings on the ACT label, Aurora back in 2011 and Ancient History the following year. Part of a three recording deal with Edition, it sees the Helsinki-based trumpeter join forces with fellow Finns bassist Antti Lötjönen, drummer Teppo Mäkynen and pianist Aki Rissanen, who will release an album of his own, featuring saxophonist Dave Liebman, on Ozella Music next year.

– Thomas Rees

For more info www.editionrecords.com/verneri-pohjola

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