Fizzle is a promoting organisation in Birmingham that concentrates on the overlapping areas of free jazz, improvised music and electronica. It operates round the year with a break in the summer months using various venues in Birmingham. It collaborates very closely with TDE Promotions which runs a similar programme in the Hexagon Theatre, the Eastside Jazz Club and occasional other venues. Fizzle is currently running Sunday afternoon sessions at the Centrala venue in the Digbeth area of Birmingham. See Centrala's website here.
Fizzle runs a programme that reflects the strength of the creative music scene in Birmingham and in the UK more generally. Players booked in recent years have included players from the thriving local scene, the national scene and international visitors, for example Paul Dunmall, Mark Sanders, Pat Thomas, Rachel Musson, Julie Kjaer, John Edwards, Olie Brice, Chris Mapp, Percy Pursglove, Sarah Farmer, Annie Mahtani, Andy Woodhead, Peter Brotzmann, Joe Morris and Sunny Murray.
The greater part of the programme is made of live gigs, but during the lockdown period of 2020 and 2021 it has produced a number of recorded sessions at Sansom Studios for online broadcast. It has also run residencies in which new work is created, and will extend this activity with the Composer Collective this year. It has also collaborated with the Flatpack Film Festival to produce programmes of improvisation to silent films. It has also participated in the Ideas of Noise festival.
Fizzle is funded by Arts Council England together with TDE Promotions, and has also received occasional donations; this enables it to pay reasonable fees to performers. The organisation is run on a voluntary basis.
TDE Promotions was established in 2016 by experienced promoter Tony Dudley-Evans to expand the programme of free jazz and improvised music in Birmingham and to ensure that this scene is properly funded.
It has promoted on a regular basis in the intimate Hexagon Theatre at mac Birmingham and at the Eastside Jazz Club at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, plus occasional gigs in other venues, e.g. the Main Theatre at mac and the Hare & Hounds.
Its programme at mac has concentrated on groups from the national and international scene, with bands such as Petter Eldh’s Amok Amor, Punkt Vrt Plastik, Tom Rainey Trio as well as groups led by Evan Parker, Mark Sanders, Chris Mapp, Andy Woodhead, Kit Downes and Orphy Robinson. It has commissioned Rachel Musson to write an extended piece for a nonet of largely Birmingham based musicians, Paul Dunmall to run a monthly series, Paul Dunmall Invites, at the Eastside Jazz Club, Jacob Garchik to tour with a UK version of his trombone choir. It has also set up recording sessions for Paul Dunmall, Mark Sanders, Lee Griffiths and Sarah Farmer during the lockdown period.
The programme thus complements and extends the Fizzle programme. Programming is done by Tony Dudley-Evans in consultation with the Fizzle team, while the Fizzle programming is done by the Fizzle team in consultation with Tony Dudley-Evans. One key to the success of the collaboration is that the programmers of Fizzle and TDE Promotions are free to make their own decisions, but keep the others fully informed.
TDE Promotions has been successful in applying for Arts Council Project Grants and these grants have supported both the Fizzle and the TDE Promotions programmes. The grant has enabled Fizzle to move on from being a door money gig to one paying musicians reasonable fees.
See also www.tdepromotions.co.uk