In a set list that mixed pop tracks with fiery jazz playing and improvisation, The Nick Dewhurst Band certainly raised the temperature when they appeared at Lichfield’s Cathedral Hotel.
The ensemble of Nick Dewhurst on trumpet, guitar and arrangements, Beth Fisher-Dewhurst on saxophone, Chris Bowden on saxophone, and a rhythm section of Paul Robinson on bass, Tom Lindsay on keyboards and vocals, and drummer Tash Buxton Lewis, played with flair, imagination and musical precision throughout.
With songs by the likes of Dua Lipa, Moloko, Pink, and Wild Cherry this was not a set for the jazz purist, but if you wanted more familiar pop hits delivered in a way that was heavy on swing, groove and accessibility as well as giving all six members some soloing time, then this was the concert to hear.
Dua Lipa’s One Kiss started the proceedings, before the timely original Heatwave was played, allowing for Chris Bowden to show why he is so highly regarded in jazz circles.
Sing It Back,, with its cyclical refrain and danceable rhythms, showed a different side to the band, while Cosmic Girl was heavy on the funk and gave Tom Lindsay the chance to show his vocal prowess.
Get the Party Started by Pink, here given a jazz makeover and plenty of soloing welly as well as some unison playing for the trumpet and saxophones, closed the first set.
Ain’t No Stopping Us Now was a lively, fast-paced second set opener, while the night’s second Nick Dewhurst original – Turbo Charger – gave both saxophonists some time to shine.
Shake it Down was a funky little number, before Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music was far from a jazz standard, but was tackled with muscular aplomb by all members.
The set finished with a fine reading of I Wish by Stevie Wonder, which has now become something of a signature piece for the group.