The Emma Jonson Band
The Emma Jonson Band

The talented pianist and singer Emma Jonson closed the 2024 Lichfield Jazz and Blues festival with a rambunctious set that encompassed boogie-woogie, blues and jazz.

With a band featuring guitarist Dan Machin, bassist Jeff Ogden and drummer Roy Adams, she played a set that was always high energy with some well chosen covers mixing in with the mainly original repertoire.

They started with a lively, unnamed instrumental that showed the prowess of the four musicians, while songs like Start it Up and the slower Real Love were story numbers with a strong narrative.

The rock and roll cover of Well Alright segued into Love Train, which featured an opportunity to show an instrument associated most with 1980s kitsch. The Keytar is an instrument of serious intent when played by a talented performer.

Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground with its relentless funk rhythm featured some sterling keyboard and guitar as well as featuring a virtuoso bass solo.

Local trumpet player Nick Dewhurst joined the quartet for Ray Charles’ Hit The Road Jack, the three way interplay between trumpet, guitar and keys were particularly impressive.

A radically slowed down version of Eric Clapton’s Layla gave guitarist Dan Machin an impressive solo feature, and the short but effective encore of Great Balls of Fire showed how important the piano was in early rock music.

This was a good way to end the festival, and it shows that the jazz and blues scene in Lichfield still has plenty of life left in it yet.

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