Lichfield Arts closed their 30th Blues and Jazz Festival in great style with a roof-raising performance from local favourites the Walsall Jazz Orchestra.

Walsall Jazz Orchestra

Counting amongst their number some of the finest local soloists and ensemble players, their set ranged from jazz to funk and fusion, with pieces by the likes of Steps Ahead, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea and Steely Dan.

There were also some numbers written by trumpet player Nick Dewhurst and pianist Tim Amaan.

Proceedings began with the light funk of Jaco Pastorious’s The Chicken, while Pools by Step’s Ahead was played at a slightly languorous pace but allowed the strengths of the ensemble to shine through.

Two of Nick Dewhurst’s compositions were showcased, with Monk Funk and the newer Heatwave – which featured guest trumpet player Bryan Corbett – being particularly well played.

Another highlight was Sam Rodger’s alto saxophone during Pat Metheny’s If I Could.

The longer Chick Corea piece Spain opened the second set and Charles Mingus’s Nostalgia in Times Square was also a fine display in musical control.

The band performed some pieces from the poppier side of jazz, with Kid Charlemagne by Steely Dan and Yo-Yo by The Yellow Jackets featuring Rick Sandford on guitar.

The set finished with a Tim Amaan original Little Steps.

Lichfield’s 30th Blues and Jazz festival was a musical success, featuring leading lights from the national and local circuits, offering concerts from many genres and even a number of free events.

Much of the success, as it is with many voluntary organisations is due to a very small team of people who put in many hours making events like this happen.

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