The Walsall Jazz Orchestra
The Walsall Jazz Orchestra

The end of the Lichfield Blues and Jazz Festival was marked by the welcome return of the multi-talented Walsall Jazz Orchestra.

Led by pianist Tim Amaan, the ensemble played a set of favourites by the likes of Charles Mingus, Steely Dan, and their own compositions.

The afternoon kicked off with a fast reading of Peg, featuring some great soloing from guest Tom Morgan on guitar.

Charles Mingus’s Nostalgia in Times Square showed how well practised the band were, the overlapping parts and changes in time signature often catching musicians out, and Are We There Yet? by Lyle Mays was even more of a technical minefield, which the ensemble navigated with aplomb.

The Amaan original Timeless featured a freeform introduction for percussion and solo trumpet, before the other instruments found their places and their feet in a piece that continually shifted groove and emphasis, before a highly melodic minimalist piano brought the number to a close.

The second part of the concert proved equally lively, starting with the fast-paced Double Espresso by Nick Dewhurst. It hurtled along – as the title would suggest – with strong drums, bass, guitar and keyboard underpinning the brass parts.

The slower ballad Always and Forever showed a softer side to the band, before set closers Scapegoat Blues by Jimmy Herring and Aja by Steely Dan once again lifted the tempo and showed why the Walsall Jazz Orchestra still have a strong reputation for exciting musicianship, many years after the ensemble was first formed.

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