Concert Review – The Kim Cypher Band

Concert Review

The Kim Cypher Band – Lichfield Guildhall – December 4th 2019

Review and photography by Ben Macnair

The talented saxophonist and singer Kim Cypher led her exceptional band through a series of jazz pieces, pop songs revisited in unusual ways and the odd festive favourite when she made her Lichfield Guildhall debut on Wednesday December 4th.

With her band of guitarist Chris Santo Cobbson, electric and double bass player Mike Green, keyboard player John Paul Gard, husband Mike Cypher on drums, and Kym on alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones and vocals they played music that appealed as much to the feet as it did the head. With influences ranging from the likes of Pee Wee Ellis, Andy Sheppard, Courtney Pine and Grover Washingon Junior, showmanship and stage presence were just as crucial to the band as musical precision and technique, shown in the one piece that segued from Charlie Parker to familiar quotes from the Muppet Show.

Mr Magic by Grover Washington was an incendiary piece allowing for plenty of musical fireworks from the band. A radically reworked version of the Zutons Valerie into a mournful torch song was even more of a departure than the hit that Amy Winehouse had with the song, and Chris Santo Cobbson original piece, A Time to Reflect, a Time to Forget was a tone poem that allowed for brooding melancholy, and some sympathetic saxophone and guitar interplay. James Brown’s Funk masterpiece I Feel Good was played at a less frenetic pace than usual, but was no less effective for all of that, whilst a spirited White Christmas, complete with wholly appropriate sleigh bells saw the audience joining in, before the pace and intensity was raised for the closing song, an instrumental reading of Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street.

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