A Covid-secure environment, a near-capacity audience and some of the finest local musicians playing to an appreciative audience was the order of the day when the Nick Dewhurst band played at The George Hotel in Lichfield.

With Nick on trumpet, guitar and composing duties, the rest of the fine ensemble consisted of Sam Craig on tenor saxophone, Beth Fisher on alto sax, bassist Tom Moore, drummer Carl Hemmingsley and keyboard player Tom Lindsay.

The Nick Dewhurst Band at The George Hotel

A full brass and woodwind compliment and strong support from the rhythm section meant the sound was full, bracing with plenty of raucous playing, but also a delicacy to the sound when the occasion demanded.

The setlist was a bit different to the usual, with the jazz standards replaced by interesting versions of pop songs by such bands as Moloko and Basement Jaxx, while the programme also consisted of a selection of tunes from the group’s recent release, Sky-Rocket.

They started proceedings with the original Heatwave, which allowed for a muscular groove, and some playing from all of the musicians, while One Kiss by Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris showed the arrangement skill of the band to fine effect.

Other originals included a new piece, Follow the Fox, with a sometimes menacing part for keyboards and bass, and Say What which was a jazz-rock crossover piece.

The second set included some pop arrangements, with hits such as Moloko’s Sing it Back, and Get the Party Started by Pink.

Breaking the Circuit was another intelligent original, fronted by Nick on guitar with a unison guitar and bass part that had elements of The Police.

The finest soloing of the evening featured during Just one Kiss from Basement Jaxx, with the eloquence of Sam Craig’s saxophone playing being a particular highlight.

The set finished with an old favourite – Stevie Wonder’s I Wish.

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