Lichfield Arts Concert review – Imperial Strut – Cathedral Hotel – 1st June 2018

Review and photography by Ben Macnair

The jazz rock fusion band Imperial Strut played to an appreciative audience when they appeared at Lichfield’s Cathedral Hotel as part of Lichfield Arts Blues and Jazz Festival.

The band, led by drummer Dave Tandy, fresh from recording at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studio played a set of exciting music that was originally recorded and written by The Yellow Jackets. The rest of the band consisted of saxophonist Callum Roxburgh, trumpet and flugel-horn player Nick Dewhurst, guitarist Ben Lee, bassist Nick Roberts and keyboard player Chris Eldred.

With long-form compositions, that ranged from jazz and blues pieces, to tone poems, and exciting soloing from all of the band members, this was jazz playing of the highest standard. The evening started with the exciting Less is Moe, whilst the slower, explorative mood of Wisdom, and the waltz rhythms of Riversongs showed how wide the genre of jazz goes. Run For Your Life which finished the first set started off at quite a lick, and only got faster.

The second set again featured only five pieces, but packed a lot of variety of mood, genre and pace into the set. Whistle while you walk, and Sightseeing were bustling theme heavy pieces, with plenty of punchy unison horn parts, whilst Mosaic, with its finger twisting chords and change in tempo was a challenge for both the band and the audience. Prayer for El Salvador was an elegiac piece, whilst the closing Imperial Strut showed both the legacy of the Yellow Jackets, and this talented six piece band of to best effect.

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