Review: Tim Amann Xtet at Wade Street Church in Lichfield

The jazz element of Lichfield Arts’ Blues and Jazz Festival was started by the local Tim Amann Xtet who played for a very appreciative audience at Wade Street Church.

The five piece includes some of the finest musicians on the West Midlands scene, playing songs that veered from bluesy, groove-based numbers to more hymn-like tone poems.

Pianist Tim Amann’s compositions also included folk elements, as well as numbers that showed the minimalist influence of such players as Tord Gustavson and Jan Gaberek.

With the strong, and unshowy rhythm section of fretless bassist Adam Gilchrist and drummer Carl Hemmingsley, the front line of Amann’s piano, Sam Rodgers on alto and tenor saxophone, and composer, trumpet and flugelhorn player Ray Butcher, the set of all original music suited the acoustics of the church perfectly.

Moods shifted from the neo classical strains of opener Ozzymandis and Earth and Sky, while Lost in Blue had a much more playful side, allowing all of the musicians – particularly Sam Rogers – to show off their full abilities.

The ballad Timeless had a classically derived keyboard line and dynamics that kept the soft texture throughout, before Rainbow’s End and Roy Butcher’s The Lion’s Den were both evocations in tonality and unison playing, showing the telepathy that develops between performers when they have been playing together as long as these five talented musicians.

On the day that Britain decided to leave the European Union, the concert was finished by the aptly named In Hope and Faith, while the much deserved encore was Dreams of Leaving.

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