Fed up of politics and grim news? Well, there’s something fun instead this week as it’s the 2016 Lichfield Jazz and Blues festival from today (Friday 24th June 2016) until Sunday (26th June 2016).
Old friend of the blog Rich Spencer has written to tell me there will be loads of great acts from Jazz orchestras to intimate solo blues sets from artists both of local and national renown.
Lichfield Blues and Jazz Festival not far off. Can we tempt you to our weekend music festival this June 24th — 26th?
Well, there’s some solid gold jazz made by both the young and the not-so-young. Flying the flag for jazz is trumpeter Steve Waterman, with a top-notch band of Gareth Williams on piano, Alec Dankworth on bass and Dave Barry on drums, plus there is Lichfield favourite, pianist Tim Amann, with his nicely hedgebetting (in terms of number of musicians) band Xtet. On this occasion it will be the big and beefy Xtet with Ray Butcher on trumpet and Sam Rogers on saxophone.
And representing the new breed of jazz musician , are two marvellous large bands: the Birmingham Jazz Orchestra and the Callum Roxburgh Swing Orchestra. Also appearing, the band may be smaller but the Nick Dewhurst Quintet still packs a mighty punch.
Turning to the blues side of the Blues & Jazz Festival, Lichfield will be opening its arms in a wide embrace for a Mancunian with an international following, guitarist Matt Schofield. Other highlights will be Birmingham blues master Steve Ajao and the soulful Rebecca Downes, each with their respective bands. Kent Duchaine and his steel guitar will also be in town.
Mixing things up across the genres is guitar and bass virtuoso Fred Thelonious Baker, and there is also the very welcome return of a band which has always gone down a storm in Lichfield: Zappatistas, led by guitarist John Etheridge and boasting a front line that includes trombonist Annie Whitehead. As the publicity stresses “Cool Rats – Hot Licks” – or should that be the other way round?
Look forward to meting old friends and new.