Nick Dewhurst Band – Skyrocket(Self-Released. Cat no: NDR0002. CD Review by Adam Sieff)Nick Dewhurst is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, music educator and jazz promoter based in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and is the kind of stalwart jazz messenger that every community needs. As well as his other musical activities, he leads a band that has been performing at clubs and festivals across the Midlands over the last five years. Their debut album Suspect In You, was released in 2016 and is now followed up with Skyrocket which gives a clear indication of how the band has progressed and developed over the last few years.
This new recording is very much Dewhurst’s baby; he plays trumpet, flugelhorn and guitar, wrote all the original repertoire, recorded, produced, and released the results on his own label. The tunes were chosen to demonstrate the style of repertoire that the band performs live, and it’s a melodic and well structured set.
The band’s lineup features tenor saxophonist Sam Craig, who like Dewhurst is also a Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Course graduate, alto & soprano saxophonist Beth Fisher, pianist Tom Lindsay, electric bassist Tom Moore and drummer Carl Hemmingsley.
The overall tone is funky jazz with plenty of strong soloing over a taught and supportive rhythm section. Dewhurst is a fine player with a warm tone on trumpet and flugelhorn, and his classy guitar playing on Larry Carlton’s Room 335 is a brave attempt at such an iconic performance. Sam Craig also takes his shots well, his playing is lyrical and solidly in the groove, especially on the opener Skyrocket, where both he and Dewhurst play with plenty of excitement. Tom Lindsay generally keeps things tight on both grand and electric piano and plays a fine solo on Midnight. I particularly enjoyed Turbocharger, dedicated to Beth Fisher, whose day job is an auto mechanic.
Trombonist Dennis Rollins is a special guest on three tracks, and the extra heft his playing gives the front line is considerable. Callum Roxburgh contributes alto saxophone to the closing track Heatwave which is in a poppier groove and sits well alongside the other cover here, a straightforward reading of Stevie Wonder’s I Wish with a nice trumpet and saxophone trading eights section.
This is entertaining, accessible and inclusive music that will appeal to more people than will get a chance to hear it. There are no streaming tracks and only a couple of short YouTube album teasers – links below – and the album is only sold direct from Nick Dewhurst’s website. When live gigs start up again this will make a fine merch table item (which may be what this album was created for), but this is now and I fear an opportunity is being missed here.
LINKS: Nick Dewhurst websitePurchase link for SkyrocketYouTube Album Tease- short versionAlbum preview