Lichfield Guildhall

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The music and sounds of the 1940’s Jazz and Swing bands were bought to vivid life when live-wire drummer Sticky Wicket and his Swingtet appeared at Lichfield Guildhall. With many in the audience taking the opportunity to dress in the appropriate clothing, the historical building became a swinging good time dance hall. Playing music from the era, and more up to date music played in the same style, the group, consisting of Sticky Wicket on Drums, Chris Gumley on saxophones and reed instruments, pianist Maurice Merry, Tomas Pederson on Bass, guitarist Geoff Tooley and charismatic lead singer Linda Morris bought the music of such performers as Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and a host of others to the appreciate audience. The first half of the concert included fast moving swing numbers such as Crazy Baby, or the slow jazzy shimmer of The Way You Look Tonight, whilst closer It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it don’t have that Swing) was a display of joyous rhythm and nuanced soloing from guitar, piano and saxophone. The second half featured more upbeat playing, and a fine reading of the jazz standard Honeysuckle Rose which featured some fine, detailed playing from Chris Gumley. A crowd-pleasing version of Tequila led to much movement on the dance floor, while pieces such as Chattanoga Choo Choo showed the full pedigree and energy of the ensemble. Drum Boogie was a showcase for the drum prowess of Sticky Wicket, and the rest of the group, before When You Are Smiling was showcase for the optimism that lives with many of these songs. An encore of Louis Armstrong’s most well known song Wonderful World was a more than fitting way to finish the concert, which showed that musical invention and technical flash could provide a showcase in feel-good music making.