THE COSMIC CIRCUS
Original Peter 1970 film of ‘live” TV happening
directed by Tony Staveacre
Part One Part Two
NOW ON CD
MIKE WESTBROOK LIVE 1972
with George Khan, Gary Boyle, Butch Potter, Alan Jackson
the original Cadillac album re-mastered with additional tracks by Jon Hiseman
Available from HUX RECORDS
More information on this site
More information on Hux Records site
MIKE WESTBROOK CONCERT BAND
The 1969 Deram double album re-issued with a bonus CD of previously unissued material by the Mike Westbrook Sextet, Quartet and Concert Band.In a 3 CD box set with specially commissioned liner notes by Duncan Heining.
Another Planet Music /Cherry Red Records
Available from Cherry Red Records
Also of Current Interest
HEY! BUDDY BOLDEN! - BACK FROM THE ARCHIVES!
Information about the Opera COMING THROUGH SLAUGHTER about the “first man of jazz” is now installed on a new webpage, with extended samples from the score, featuring Wills Morgan as Buddy. (that was 1994 - isn’t it about time to get “Slaughter” fully staged?)
DISSONANCE, TRILLS AND THUMPS (Courtesy Financial Times)
MIKE WESTBROOK AND JONATHAN GEE MEET OVER TWO STEINWAYS IN SOHO
Here is D.T.T.M
Mike Westbrook’s solo album PARIS and Jonathan Gee’s Trio album DRAGONFLY are both on ASC Records.
Mike Westbrook's PARIS can be purchased online from Westbrook Records.
YET ANOTHER VERSION OF DTTM
Recently recorded by Mike with Jools Holland and his Band for Jools’s Radio Two show.
AFTER SMITH'S HOTEL
Mike Westbrook’s composition After Smith’s Hotel was only ever performed once. This was at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, in October 1983. Now, as one of a number of ways to mark Mike’s 80th birthday, and his fifty-odd years as a composer/bandleader, Westbrook Jazz has released as a download an archive recording of the complete concert. The double CD length download is now available in MP3 at £8.99 & a CD quality FLAC version at £9.99
Information about the download
GARY BAYLEY'S THESIS ON THE MUSIC OF MIKE WESTBROOK
Gary Bayley's fascinating thesis on the music of Mike Westbrook is now online at Durham University's website as a PDF document.
NOW SHOWING - ARCHIVE FILMS
CHURSTON WOODS- THEN AND NOW
This beautiful and moving film by Stan Willis uses as its sound track “Pastorale” from the Westbrook Orchestra’s album Citadel/Room 315, featuring solos by Henry Lowther on trumpet and Alan Wakeman on tenor saxophone.
Churston Woods Film
CAPTURED ON FILM - LOU GARE PLAYS D.T.T.M.
Matthew North's film of Lou Gare's solo on the Mike Westbrook composition D.T.T.M. - dedicated to the memory of Danilo Terenzi and Tony Marsh - is now released. The occasion was the performance by The Uncommon Orchestra at the Barnfield Theatre, Exeter on 18th December 2014.
D.T.T.M. Lou Gare & The Uncommon Orchestra
We remember Lindsay Cooper who died on September 18th 2013 with film of her in The Cortege with the Mike Westbrook Orchestra in 1982.
Remembering Tony Marsh who died on 9th April 2012 with a film from the first performance of "On Duke's Birthday" in 1984. East Stratford Too-Doo
TWO SHORT FILMS OF LOU GARE
Stan Willis has uploaded two films of saxophonist Lou Gare improvising.
Do take a look:
ALAN WAKEMAN CD
For the first time on CD is a re-release of the 1978 album Wilderness Of Glass by Triton. Triton are Alan Wakeman - tenor & soprano saxes, Paul Bridge - double bass, Nigel Morris - drums. At the time Barry McRae of Jazz Journal wrote "Any reader with a taste for thoughtful modern jazz should give this a try."
You can buy the album from JAZZCDs
You can read more about the album on Alan's Website
PLAYING THE BAND - THE MUSICAL LIFE OF JON HISEMAN
the biography by Martyn Hanson
is now published by Temple Music
Order from Amazon
MIKE WESTBROOK AT "ALL ABOUT JAZZ"
An article by Duncan Heining covering Mike Westbrook's career from the early days of 'Celebration' to present day works such as 'English Soup' and 'The Serpent Hit' is featured on the "All About Jazz" website.
Mike Westbrook: Art Wolf at 75
MIKE WESTBROOK ON FACEBOOK
Mike's Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/66ufq7z
The Uncommon Orchestra Page: http://tinyurl.com/j2gkoqs
Kate Westbrook joins Mike Westbrook on Facebook.
Please visit and "like" Kate's page: http://tinyurl.com/6g7orom
SERPENT HIT NEWS
What they are saying about THE SERPENT HIT
Some of our foremost Jazz writers respond to the album.
See the the articles by
Richard Williams, Chris Parker, John Fordham, Dave Gelly, Stephen Graham,
Duncan Heining, Andy Robson and Chris Searle.
More information about The Serpent Hit & The CD
FINE 'N YELLOW
The CD version of Fine ‘n Yellow is now re-issued on ASC Records (ASC CD 149) with UK distribution by Proper Note. The album is also available from Westbrook Records.
Following rave reviews in the French Jazz Press the Fine ‘n Yellow album was selected by staff reviewers of the Italian magazine Musica Jazz as one of the top albums of the year. CDs will now bear the sticker ‘consigliato da musica jazz’ recommended by Musica Jazz).
BBC JAZZ ON 3 MARKED THE CENTENARY OF THE OUTBREAK OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR WITH THE WESTBROOKS’ “PICARDIE”
On Monday August 4th 2014 BBC Jazz on 3 broadcasted in full The Picardie section from the album London Bridge is Broken Down by Kate and Mike Westbrook.
Details of the London Bridge album
The BBC Radio 3 interview with Kate and Mike can be heard on SoundCloud.
ENGLISH SOUP DVD/CD
Now available exclusively from Westbrook Records, in a Special Limited Edition for collectors, comprising DVD, audio CD and Recipes.
See here for details
Selected Westbrook recordings can now be purchased online direct from Westbrook Records with payment being made via PayPal. (It's possible to pay using PayPal without opening an account with them). It's also still possible to pay by cheque if you wish.
Further information on the CDs available and how to pay
are on the main Westbrook Records page.
We've added CDs of The Cortege, Chanson Irresponsable and The Orchestra of Smith's Academy to the list of CDs and DVDs that you can buy direct from Westbrook Records. The price of the DVD/CD English Soup has also been dramatically reduced!
Take a look.
LOVE FOR SALE
The complete version of the Westbrook Trio's take on the Cole Porter classic, filmed live in St Etienne in 1993:
THE CORTEGE- NOW ON FILM
Tony Staveacre’s documentary of the 1982 tour of the Westbrooks’ masterwork featuring Kate Westbrook, Phil Minton and a star-packed Orchestra can now be seen on YouTube
Part One Part Two
This 10 - minute film of the river, filmed by Will Halfacree with music score by Mike Westbrook can now be viewed on WestbrookJazz.
KATE AND MIKE WESTBROOK
The Paris Interview 'Passent a Table ' Jazz Magazine
Download a PDF copy in French
For a taste of 1920s Paris here’s the opening sequence of the Dupont silent classic starring the notorious Olga Tchekova with Mike Westbrook’s score performed by the Matrix Ensemble. Formidable! http://bit.ly/2oIjRqG
Mike Westbrook in memory of LOU GARE is now available from Westbrook Records
see review at http://tinyw.in/uJC1
To order your copy please see here
Mike Westbrook Concert Band
THE LAST NIGHT AT THE OLD PLACE May 1968 was officially released on Cadillac on May 25th. See http://tinyw.in/vM1O and http://tinyw.in/Yh2e
Mike Westbrook STARCROSS BRIDGE
solo piano album on Hat Hut Records HatOLOGY 754. Release date 17th August 2018
Mike Westbrook Orchestra
Live in Sicily in 1992 double CD on Westbrook Records WR004
ALL CHANGE AT SMITH’S ACADEMY
For over 30 years the Smith’s Academy Informer, founded by John and Margery Styles has chronicled the activities of the Westbrook Band. Originally a printed, quarterly newsletter circulated by post, latterly published online more
sporadically, the SAI has kept track of tours, recordings and new projects.
Now that the relaying of up-to-date information is provided by the Social Media and the Diary and Latest News pages on the website, the Informer is free to concentrate on its other function, that of providing a space for reportage and background information.
Re-invented as the WestbrookJazz Notice Board, it will in future set out to give a platform to comment, analysis and in-depth writing on relevant topics. The Notice Board will be published on the website and each new edition notified to a mailing list of subscribers. Join Our Mailing List to be kept "Informed".
Back issues of SAI will continue to be available on the website.
Keep up to date with The WestbrookJazz Notice Board
NEW ALBUMS BY DAVE HOLDSWORTH & ROZ HARDING
Dave Holdsworth, featured trumpet soloist with many of the most important jazz units in the UK, and the imaginative and distinctive alto saxophonist Roz Harding, who are both currently members of Mike Westbrook's Uncommon Orchestra, have recently released new albums of their own. We feature both albums here with sound samples and information on where to purchase them.
GRANITE – THE ALBUM
Following a triumphant “live” premiere in The Dartmoor Resonance Music Festival, Kate Westbrook’s new album is now officially released. Distributed by Proper Music the CD is also available direct from Westbrook Records.
Here’s a taste
For more information comment, reviews and samples click here.
Following the release of Mike Westbrook’s PARIS, Werner Uehlinger, director of Hat Hut Records, commissioned a solo piano album for his label. Mike Westbrook’s STARCROSS BRIDGE is now released (hatOLOGY 754). The new album was recorded in concert at Hélène Aziza’s 19 rue Paul Fort, Paris, at the beginning of December last year, by Miles Ashton, edited and mixed by the late Jon Hiseman. This performance followed a solo concert in the Intakt Festival, Zurich, a festival celebrating the centenary of the birth of Thelonious Monk.
STARCROSS BRIDGE is available from Westbrook Records.
See the CD page for sound samples and a superbly perceptive review by Andy Robson of Jazzwize.
See WestbrookJazz Notice Board.
LAST NIGHT AT THE OLD PLACE
Mike Westbrook Concert Band
Recorded in May 1968, officially released on Cadillac on 25th May 2018
Buy the album.
The album is disc of the month in the prestigious Italian magazine Musica Jazz
Read the review in Italian here
KATE AND MIKE WESTBROOK ON TWITTER
Kate and Mike now have independent accounts on Twitter. These accounts will eventually replace the @westbrookjazz Twitter account, so to be sure of not missing the increased activity from them both on Twitter please follow their respective Twitter feeds.
CATANIA – THE ALBUM
July 2017 saw the 25th anniversary of the three-day Mike Westbrook Music Festival in Catania, Sicily. Presented by the Associazione Catania Jazz the Mike Westbrook Orchestra performed, on consecutive nights BIG BAND ROSSINI, AFTER SMITH’S HOTEL and THE EUROPEAN SONG BOOK. Westbrook Records, in conjunction with Proper Music Distribution have released a double CD of selected highlights from the festival, entitled simply CATANIA. The album is drawn from various live recordings of the concerts, some of them only recently discovered, expertly assembled by the late Jon Hiseman with additional work by Jay Auborn and Callum Godfroy, of dBs Sound, producers of GRANITE. The UK release of the Catania album was celebrated with a sell-out performance at Ronnie Scott’s in February. The 24-piece Uncommon Orchestra, fresh from its Italian tour, presented the first UK performance of PURE GOLD, a cornucopia of Westbrook classics from the mid 70s to the present day, - from Citadel/Room 315 to A Bigger Show. More information on the PURE GOLD page.
Kate Westbrook took The Granite Band into the Studio in July to record the follow-up album to GRANITE, with the same wonderful team of Roz Harding saxophones, Jesse Molins and Matthew North guitars, Billie Bottle bass guitar/vocals, Mike Westbrook piano and Coach York drums. Once again the producers will be Jay Auborn and Callum Godfroy. Kate’s latest songs and Mike’s new writing take The Granite Band in surprising directions. The album is supported by Airshaft Trust.
"PIANO" REISSUED AS A DOWNLOAD
Mike Westbrook's 'PIANO' album, first released on vinyl on the Original Records label in 1978 was later reissued on CD by Imptetus in 1995. The solo piano compositions, all by Mike Westbrook were based around well known English poems.
The album has been unavailable for too long and second hand copies have been known to fetch large amounts of money. We have decided to make it available as a download in either CD or mp3 quality. See here for further information and sound samples.
Other Westbrook downloads are also available
WESTBROOK DOWNLOADS & CDs NOW AVAILABLE FROM BANDCAMP
Our growing catalogue of digital downloads is now available from Bandcamp. Over the coming months we will be adding more titles. The downloads are available in Lossless FLAC, WAV, mp3 and more. See here to access Mike's albums and listen to tracks & purchase. Some CDs are also available.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABBEY ROAD
Thursday September 26th was the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album. To mark the occasion Westbrook Records are releasing on-line the Westbrook Band’s version “After Abbey Road” recorded live in Nuremberg in 1996. John Winfield and Kate Westbrook are on vocals, with Brian Godding on guitar, Pete Whyman and Alan Wakeman on saxophones, Andy Grappy on tuba, Mike Westbrook on piano and Peter Fairclough on drums.
The AFTER ABBEY ROAD album is now available to stream and download from online retailers
You can also support the artist directly by buying the download on Bandcamp
FALLING IN LOVE – AGAIN
Kate and Mike Westbrook present their jazz cabaret Love Or Infatuation, based on the Hollywood Songs of Friedrich Hollaender, in the company of Roz Harding saxophone and Marcus Vergette bass. The date is Sunday October 6th, the venue Marcus’s Jazz Club at The Globe, Chagford.
See diary for details
ROSSINI ON RAI
On October 16th at 20.30 Italian Radio RAI 3 will broadcast Rossini Re-Loaded by Mike Westbrook and The Uncommon Orchestra. Presented by Fano Jazz Network the concert was recorded on November 17th 2018 at the Teatro Rossini in Rossini’s hometown Pesaro.
Radiotre Suite Jazz
Mercoledì 16 ottobre 2019
Fano Jazz Network: Mike Westbrook The Uncommon Orchestra
Jazz and Rock variations on themes from the Operas of Gioacchino Rossini
Registrato al Teatro “G. Rossini”, Pesaro, il 17.11.2018
To listen to the concert as it goes out click on ‘ascolta la diretta’ the start button at the bottom of the screen, (UK listeners please beware the time difference):
GRANITE FOR TEIGNMOUTH FESTIVAL
Kate Westbrook and The Granite Band will perform GRANITE in the Teignmouth Jazz Festival on the afternoon of Sunday 20th October. See Diary for details
The line up is: Kate Westbrook voice, Roz Harding saxophones, Jesse Molins, Matthew North guitars, Billie Bottle bass guitar, Mike Westbrook piano, Coach York drums and Olly Wickes sound. This is one of a number of performances supported in partnership with Jazz South as part of Platform South, with funding from Arts Council England.
A BLUE PLAQUE FOR RONNIES
On Thursday October 24th at 12.30 pm a blue plaque will be unveiled at 39, Gerrard Street, Soho, in honour of Ronnie Scott’s club which opened there, in the basement, in 1959. When the club moved to Frith Street in 1966 the Gerrard Street club carried on, as ‘The Old Place’, featuring the newer British bands.
The Mike Westbrook Band played the Saturday All-Nighter every week until the club closed in 1968.
The last band to play at The Old Place, on May 25th 1968, was the Mike Westbrook Concert Band, a performance commemorated with the live album ‘The Last Night At The Old Place” on Cadillac Records.
The Last Night At The Old Place is available from Westbrook Records.
Mike Westbrook has written about 'The Old Place' on the Westbrook Notice Board.
UNCOMMON XMAS ON THE ENGLISH RIVIERA
The line-up for the Uncommon Orchestra’s COOL CHRISTMAS at the Grand Hotel, Torquay on Sunday 15th December is confirmed.
Phil Minton is a special guest, lead trumpet Mike Brewer returns to the fold, Billie Bottle is back from the Circus, and Andy Williamson makes his first appearance with the Orchestra on baritone.
The full list is:
Phil Minton Kate Westbrook Martine Waltier vocals Billie Bottle vocals/keyboard
Mike Brewer Robin Pengilley Sam Massey Andy Hague trumpets
Dave Holdsworth trumpet/sousaphone Pete Whyman Roz Harding Sarah Dean Will Paley
Andy Williamson saxophones Joe Carnell Sam Chamberlain-Keen Stewart Stunell
Ashley Nayler trombones Jesse Molins Matthew North guitars Marcus Vergette bass
Coach York drums Mike Westbrook MD.
And yes! There will be Westbrook classics, Panto music, Blues, Bebop, Carols, Ellington, Basie, Rossini, William Blake, John Clare, Gustav Holst, and a special treat for lovers of Sicilian Folk Music. The concert is presented in association with fougou music, supported by Airshaft Trust.
See diary for information, including details of the Grand Hotel’s special Dinner and Room offer.
click here for film of the Uncommon Orchestra at Torquay Town Hall.
NEW FACEBOOK DISCUSSION GROUP
We have launched the Kate and Mike Westbrook Facebook group. You are very welcome to join and contribute. https://www.facebook.com/groups/westbrookgroup/
HAPPENING NEW YEAR!
WESTBROOK QUARTET FOR BATH NEW YEAR FEST
2020 kicks off with the Bath Jazz Weekend from January 3rd to 5th. On the 3rd. The Westbrook Quartet - Kate Westbrook Roz Harding, Marcus Vergette, Mike Westbrook - will perform ‘Love Or Infatuation’ based around the Hollywood Songs of Frederick Hollander. Other artists appearing in the festival include Iain Ballamy, Robert Mitchell, Joanna MacGregor, John Law, Tom Orrell, Nikki Yeoh, Huw Warren, Sam Crockett and more to be announced.
See Diary for more info.
LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING - CITADEL ROOM 315 STOCKHOLM 1974
Recorded originally for Sveriges Radio in May 1974 the World Premiere of Citadel Room 315 is to be released on vinyl and CD on Jon Griffiths’ “My Only Desire” label.
Composer Mike Westbrook and featured soloist John Surman performed with the 16-piece Swedish Radio Jazz Group, led by saxophonist Arne Domnérus and the Argentinian trumpet player Americo Bellotto. The group comprised many of the finest players on the Swedish scene including trumpeters Jan Allan and Bertil Lövgren, saxophonist Lennart Åberg, guitarist Rune Gustafsson, pianist Bengt Hallberg and drummer Egil Johansen. The Mike Westbrook Orchestra’s well-known version of Citadel, also featuring Surman, was recorded for RCA the following year.
Taking its title from one of the sections of the piece, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING will be officially released on April 3rd.
The CD can be pre-ordered from
ONCE UPON A TIME AT RADIO 3
A track from Kate Westbrook’s new album Earth Felt The Wound will be featured on BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast show, presented by Petroc Trelawny on Wednesday July 22nd between 8am and 9am. The featured song will be “Once Upon A Time”, the Rossini ballad from La Cenerentola, sung by Kate with Billie Bottle on piano. Matthew North recorded and filmed their performance ‘live’ at the Uncommon Orchestra’s concert in the Teatro Rossini, Pesaro in November 2018.
Matthew’s film will be shown in the Moving Picture Show on Friday July 31st, the official release date of the album.
SHINING A LIGHT
The latest recording by Kate Westbrook and THE GRANITE BAND is featured in a podcast by Jazz South on Monday 30th November. A tribute to Ellington “Says The Duke”, the 19-minute track is one of six works commissioned by Jazz South with funds that, but for Covid 19, would have been used to subsidise gigs this year. Entitled JazzSouthSpotlight, introduced, with interviews by Kevin Le Gendre,
the full series is:
November 2 Iain Ballamy IBQT
November 9 Fourth Page
November 16 Hexagonal
November 23 We Are Leif
November 30 Kate Westbrook & The Granite Band
December 7 Sara Colman Band
each podcast will start at 5pm
All information about the bands on
From November 30 “Says the Duke“ will be available for sale on Bandcamp.
Details on the “Says The Duke” page.
LOVE YOU MADLY
A new recording by Kate Westbrook and The Granite Band will be launched by Jazz South in a podcast on Monday November 30th at 5pm. Thereafter it will be available as a download on Bandcamp. Entitled Says the Duke, with lyrics by Kate, music by Mike Westbrook, the work is dedicated to Ellington. An extended Blues, it is inspired by the memory of the Ellington Orchestra’s last UK performance, at The Rainbow, London, in December 1973. The 19-minute track was recorded ‘remotely’ by the Graniteers;
Kate (voice) Roz Harding (alto sax) Jesse Molins and Matthew North (guitars) Mike Westbrook (keyboard) Billie Bottle (bass guitar) Coach York (drums)
and produced by Matt.
Jazz South podcast 5pm, Monday 30th November begins with Kate talking to journalist Kevin Le Gendre about Says the Duke.
Podcast available from 5pm Monday November 30th here.
Scroll down that page to 30th November date.
Information about the new recording:
JAZZ SOUTH INTERVIEW WITH MIKE WESTBROOK
Jamie Harber from Jazz South catches up with legendary jazz pianist, composer and band leader, Mike Westbrook OBE, for an extended interview in celebration of his 85th birthday.
Mike also curated a special Duke Ellington playlist for Jazz South. The playlist is linked in the interview where you can find out about the tracks and why Mike has chosen them.
Catching up with Mike Westbrook
THE WESTBROOKJAZZ MOVING PICTURE SHOW
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
Westbrookjazz Moving Picture Show No 75
T H E LA S T P I C T U R E S H O W
OF S U M M E R
With apologies for the delay, we round off the 20/21
Season with a ninety-minute cornucopia of films of
The Westbrook Band in its many guises playing everything from
William Blake to Barry Manilow and including many Picture Show favourites.
T H A T ’ S A L L F O L K S !
Friday October 1st from 11.30am
Since the beginning of April 2020 a new film has been added to the Picture Show every Friday. All films then remain available to view on the Moving Picture Show pages indefinitely.
Details of the latest and all previous films are shown on the
WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show Pages.
GOOSE SAUCE BACK ON THE MENU
The classic Mike Westbrook Brass Band album Goose Sauce, from the late 70s, is now available as a download on Bandcamp. A spicy brew of street music and music-theatre, the album features the original Band line-up of Phil Minton (trumpet/vocals), Kate Westbrook (tenor horn/vocals), Paul Rutherford (trombone/vocals), Dave Chambers (tenor sax), Mike Westbrook (euphonium/piano) plus new recruits Nisar Ahmad ‘George’ Khan (baritone & soprano saxes) and percussionist Trevor Tomkins.
For more information see Goose News on the Notice Board.
G R A N I T E R E - L O A D E D
Following the cancellation due to Covid of The Granite Band’s gig at the recent Swanage Jazz Festival, all eyes and ears are focused on the Band’s forthcoming performance at Exeter Phoenix on July 26th. This will a rare opportunity to hear ‘live’ the songs from Kate Westbrook’s latest album, the ‘apocalyptic’ Earth Felt The Wound, plus a major new composition The Wounding.
Joining Kate Westbrook are Roz Harding, saxophone, Jesse Molins and Matthew North, guitars, Billie Bottle, bass guitar and voice, Mike Westbrook ( 2022 Parliamentary Jazz Award winner), keyboard, and Coach York, Drums.
see diary for details
Autumn sees the revival of that much-loved big band project Rossini Re-Loaded, jazz and rock variations on themes and arias from Rossini operas.
Cambridge Jazz presents Rossini Re-loaded on September 27th. Then the Uncommon Orchestra travels to Italy to open a Rossini Festival on October 6th in the beautiful newly restored opera house, the Teatro Rossini in Lugo. Back in 2018 there was a performance in Rossini’s birthplace Pesaro.
The Uncommon Orchestra:
Kate Westbrook voice Mike Westbrook piano Ben Cottrell musical director
Graham Russell Robin Pengilley Andy Hague Sam Massey trumpets
Pete Whyman Chris Biscoe Sarah Dean Alan Wakeman Ian Wellens saxophones
Joe Carnell Sam Chamberlain-Keen Stewart Stunell Ashley Nayler trombones
Karen Street accordion Frank Schaefer cello Marcus Vergette bass Coach York drums
see diary for details.
see Mike's Notice Board piece
ALBUMS FOR AUTUMN
The summer saw the release on CD of Paintbox Jane, the musical theatre show inspired by the painter Raoul Dufy. Tim Goodwin plays Dufy, Kate Westbrook, Martine Waltier and Billie Bottle act and sing, with Alan Wakeman on sax, Mike Westbrook, keyboard and Marcus Vergette on bass.
This is followed in November by LONDON BRIDGE LIVE IN ZÜRICH 1990
a radio recording by SRF (Swiss Radio und Fernsehen) of a performance of London Bridge is Broken Down in the Zürich Jazz Festival of 1990.
Re-mixed and mastered by producer Jay Auborn, the recording is released as a double CD on Westbrook Records. London Bridge is a European-themed work for voice, jazz orchestra and chamber orchestra and includes settings of poetry in French, German and English. The composition was first performed in 1987. A studio recording for Virgin Venture in 1988 has long been unavailable on CD.
The Zürich concert was the last performance of the work in its entirety. Musicians involved are:
Kate Westbrook voice Mike Westbrook piano Pete Whyman, Chris Biscoe, Alan Wakeman saxophones
Graham Russell trumpet Paul Nieman trombone Andy Grappy tuba
Brian Godding guitar Tim Harries bass guitar Peter Fairclough drums
Docklands Sinfonietta conductor Rupert Bond
album supported by Airshaft Trust.
release details to be confirmed.
Chris Biscoe’s new album MUSIC IS - Chris Biscoe plays Mike Westbrook will shortly be available on Trio Records. In his distinctly original interpretations of themes from the Westbrook repertoire Chris (on alto, soprano and baritone saxophones, alto clarinet) is joined by Dave Whitford (bass) Jon Scott (drums) Mike Outram (guitar) and Kate Williams (piano).
Information coming soon on Chris Biscoe's website.
WESTBROOK BLAKE IN LONDON
The Westbrook settings of William Blake were performed at St James’s Church, Piccadilly in the heart of London, on Thursday November 24th. Part of a series of events, profits of which go towards the creation of a Blake centre at Blake’s cottage at Felpham, recently acquired by the Blake Society.
The Band: Phil Minton, Kate Westbrook, Karen Street, Billy Thompson, Chris Biscoe, Mike Westbrook, Steve Berry. Special Guest: Matthew Bourne piano.
CHRIS BISCOE PLAYS MIKE WESTBROOK
Chris Biscoe’s new album on Trio Records ‘MUSIC IS’ features his arrangements of themes composed by Mike and Kate Westbrook. Chris has worked with Mike and Kate since joining the The Brass Band in 1979 in Mama Chicago. With The Orchestra he took part in the premiere of The Cortège and On Duke’s Birthday. With the much-travelled Westbrook Trio, which recently passed its fortieth anniversary, he recorded L’Ascenseur/The Lift. Themes from these works are the basis of the Quintet’s perfomances. Chris, playing soprano, alto and baritone saxes and alto clarinet, is joined by Mike Outram, guitar, Kate Williams on piano, Dave Whitford, bass, and Jon Scott drums The Album launch will take place at Jazz Café Posk in London on Friday 13th January 2023.
See Diary for details.
"MUSIC IS" the CD album is available from Chris's Website.
or a download on Bandcamp.
the piano and me
Ashburton Arts Centre Devon March 6th Pizza Express Soho March 12th
A solo piano performance in which Mike Westbrook improvises on themes from his musical history. Remembered show tunes, pop songs and jazz classics are interwoven with originals from the Kate and Mike Westbrook Song Book.
See Diary for details.
An album ‘the piano and me’ recorded in concert by Matthew North at Dartington Hall last June is available on Bandcamp from Westbrook Records.
Marcus Vergette TINTINNABULATION
March 23 Dartington, Devon
Matthew Bourne, Mike Westbrook, Kate Westbrook,
Dhevdhas Nair, Coach York, Marcus Vergette
At the centre of this performance of music by Marcus Vergette is his Time and Tide bells: handmade instruments which create sound with the rising sea levels. One of the bells is ringing at any given time of day as the tide wraps around our coast, retreats and returns again. There are eight bells currently scattered across the UK’s coasts, each existing as a democratic artwork owned by the local community. Sounds from these bells are collaged with field recordings from the coast and fragments of instrumental improvisation, including Vergette himself on double bass. The result is a collection of dark and dramatic soundscapes, capturing thetumultuous nature of our waters.
The music performance will be ‘Tintinnabulation’ which explores the idea of a world with birds, and a world without birds, playing with the interaction between the bells and birdsong. In ‘Ferry’, a small group of instrumentalists respond musically to a projected film of the Torpoint Ferry as it crosses the water, with field recordings from
the boat audibly intertwined throughout the track. The bells are perhaps most prominent in ‘Wax and Wane’, buoyantly weaving between vocal fragments and field recordings.
See Diary for venue and booking details.
FINDING THE KEY
Composer/flautist Viv Goodwin-Darke has published a collection of essays, poems and visual images by fellow Devon-based artists. These include musicians, poets, composers and performers. Each was asked to make a personal statement about their basic practice as artists, in whatever form they wished; an article, a poem, a drawing, a photograph. For musicians it is about the relationship with their instrument. Among twenty three contributors the booklet includes items by members of the Uncommon Orchestra: Kate and Mike Westbrook, Coach York, Marcus Vergette, Martine Waltier, Billie Bottle and Roz Harding. Finding the Key began with Viv’s meditation on the flute.
Finding the Key is available for £7 + p&p. The accompanying film can be viewed on YouTube.
Details at the bottom of this page:
The Big Band meets Grand Opera at Ronnie Scott’s
Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club, Monday 12th June 2023 - Tuesday 13th June 2023
Regarded as one of UK’s greatest living jazz composers, Mike Westbrook brings his acclaimed ‘Big Band Rossini’ project back to life at the club where it was performed triumphantly 30 years ago.
Line-up: Saxophones: CHRIS BISCOE, PETER WHYMAN, SARAH DEAN, ALAN WAKEMAN, IAN WELLENS; Trumpets: GRAHAM RUSSELL, ROBIN PENGILLY, ANDY HAGUE, SAM MASSEY; Trombones: JOE CARNELL, SAM CHAMBERLAIN-KEEN, STEWART STUNELL, ASHLEY NAYLER; KAREN STREET accordion; FRANK SCHAEFER cello; MARCUS VERGETTE bass; COACH YORK drums; KATE WESTBROOK voice; MIKE WESTBROOK piano and BENJAMIN COTTRELL conductor
Mike Westbrook leads his 20-piece Uncommon Orchestra in this internationally acclaimed jazz classic. Originally commissioned by the NDR Band in Hamburg in 1990 and subsequently toured by the Mike Westbrook Orchestra, Big Band Rossini has been played at Festivals all over Europe, and performed with big bands in Scandinavia, Canada and Australia. It was the first jazz work ever to be featured in the BBC Proms in 1993. Revived with The Uncommon Orchestra in 2018, Rossini Re-Loaded scored a hit at the annual Rossini Festival in Pesaro, the composer’s birthplace. The Orchestra returns to Ronnie Scott’s fresh from a triumphant appearance at the Rossini Open International Music Festival in Lugo, in the opera house where the teenage prodigy Rossini first performed in 1806.
“In the city where Gioacchino Rossini lived, and in the theatre where he actually played, Mike Westbrook breathes new life into the immortal magic of the Italian maestro’s compositions”. Giancarlo Spezia Musica Jazz
Dates: Monday 12th June 2023 - Tuesday 13th June 2023
Doors open time First House 18:00
Ticket Prices: £35.00 - £50.00
GLAD DAY AD LIB
On Saturday 1st April at AdLib in Fabrikken, Lillehammer, Norway the premiere took place of the Norwegian language version of Mike Westbrook’s Glad Day - settings of the poetry of William Blake. Described by director/ alto saxophonist Knut Laasbye as “Funny, exciting and a little scary”, the performance was “cheered from beginning to end”.
From the left: Dag Leonardsen (flügabone), Arne Schanche Andresen (tenorsax), Jan Andresen (altand sopransax),Knut Laasbye (song and alt sax / facilitation), Anders Fongen (bass), the singers Elisabeth Slettnes , Aksel Mohn, Håvard Skaadel , Kjell Joar Rognstad and Sissel Sellæg, and Anne Margrethe Slettnes (piano).
TWO FOR DUKE
April 29th is the 124th anniversary of the birth of Duke Ellington. To mark the occasion Westbrook Records is releasing as a download ‘Says the Duke’, a single, 11-minute track recorded live by the 23-piece Uncommon Orchestra at Ronnie Scott’s in April 2022. ‘Says the Duke’ formed part of Mike Westbrook’s extended Ellington tribute ‘On Duke’s Birthday’. At the same time Westbrook Records will re-issue on download an 18-minute version of ‘Says the Duke’ recorded by the 7-piece Granite band during lockdown in 2020.
Says the Duke (2020) and Says the Duke (2022) will be released officially on April 29th, as a download on Bandcamp from Westbrook Records, and streaming/downloading from Proper Music Distribution on all digital platforms.
Says the Duke (2022)
Says The Duke (2020)
Mike and Kate Westbrook have recently been invited to become Patrons of the Blake Society, an organisation set up to study and celebrate the work of William Blake.
The Society is based in Piccadilly at St James Church. Blake who was born in nearby Soho, was christened at the church in 1757. The Westbrook Blake, based on settings of William Blake’s poetry, was performed in the church in November.
On April 19th the Society staged a conversation by Zoom between Mike and Kate and Camila Oliveira Querino. Camila is a Blake expert who was born in Brazil and is currently an Associate Research Fellow at the University of Lisbon. The session included film of performances featuring the voices of Phil Minton and Kate Westbrook. Discussion ranged from the relationship of music to Blake’s poetry and the place of his vision in the modern world, to stories from the Westbrook Band’s fifty-year travels with William Blake.
A Music Celebration of Blake, an informal conversation by zoom, can be seen on the Westbrook Jazz Moving Picture Show here
For information about the Blake Society visit https://blakesociety.org/
The DVD/CD “GLAD DAY LIVE” filmed at Toynbee Hall, London in 2008 is available from westbrook records
INTRODUCING THE WESTBROOK SONG BOOK
The Westbrook Song Book project is now up and running. Every month a song will be released by westbrookjazz as a download on Bandcamp. Each song copy will be accompanied by an audio version.
The plan is to build up a comprehensive catalogue of songs created by Mike and Kate Westbrook from the 1970s to the present day, from Mama Chicago to Earth Felt The Wound.
Piano arrangements are by Mike Westbrook.
Editing and type setting is by Mike Fowler.
Fiachra Trench acts as a consultant.
Overall series editor is Chris Topley.
The Streams of Lovely Lucienne and I See They Form
are now available to download.
More coming soon.
And Did Those Feet
Duncan Heining’s new book And Did Those Feet is published by Jazz in Britain and will be officially released on October 19th. A leading writer on jazz, Duncan’s previous works include Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers, British Jazz from 1960 - 1975, Mosaics, the life and music of Graham Collier and most recently George Russell, American Composer. In And Did Those Feet, Heining examines in depth the work of six composers whose careers in jazz began in the 1960s : Michael Garrick, Mike Gibbs, Barry Guy, John Mayer, Keith Tippett and Mike Westbrook. Two audio CDs will accompany the book, containing tracks by each of the composers. Mike Westbrook is represented by a hitherto unreleased 1980 recording of the Santarcangelo section from The Cortège.
CADILLAC RECORDS IS 50 !
Cadillac Records celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a special event at Café Oto, London on September 28th. Cadillac was founded by John Jack and Mike Westbrook in 1973 with the release of Mike Westbrook’s LIVE ’72 album. The following year Ogun Records released Chris McGregor’s Live at Willisau album by the Brotherhood of Breath. From then on under the stewardship of John Jack and Hazel Miller respectively, Cadillac and Ogun worked in tandem to create their unique catalogue of contemporary jazz and improvised music. This remarkable achievement is celebrated with a selection of reissues from their back catalogue.
The evening will feature a film screening of rare footage of the Blue Notes at The Old Place, 1967, The Real McGregor (Director: Ian Hutchison). There will be live music from Mike Westbrook and a tribute to Louis Moholo-Moholo featuring Jason Yarde, Roberto Ottaviano - saxophones, Alex Hawkins - piano, Neil Charles - double bass, and Mark Sanders, drums. Sadly John Jack died in 2017.The work to which he devoted so much of his life, in the cause of the music he loved, carries on, safe in the hands of Mike Gavin and friends. Never was Cadillac more needed than now.
Cadillac’s 50th Anniversary is commemorated appropriately with the re-issue on CD of the album that began it all, Mike Westbrook’s LIVE ’72, featuring George Khan, Gary Boyle, ‘Butch’ Potter and Alan Jackson.
WESTBROOK BLAKE IN NORWAY
Our good friend Knut Laasbye has been in contact to tell us of a Westbrook Blake concert taking place in Norway on Saturday 21st October 2023. He says "Next Saturday, on the 21st of October, Lillehammer William Blake/Mike Westbrook Ensemble is having a concert with the Glad Day material at the Lillehammer Jazzfestival/Dølajazz. We are very excited and are looking so much forward to it!"
Here is some information in English from the festival website
The English jazz pianist/composer Mike Westbrook's (1936-) music offers an engaging and challenging journey into William Blake's (1757-1827) London at the end of the 18th century. Life is brutal. The city belongs to the upper class, the judges and the church. The natural sciences are waking up. Industrialization and the flight from the countryside are increasing. The contrasts lay the foundation for William Blake's philosophical world, texts and art, religion and social criticism and his understanding of the contradictions in human existence. The music is complex and melodious and has parallels to the music many know from "Les Miserables", Gil Evans, Eisler/Weill, Ketil Bjørnstad and Tom Waits.
Knut Laasbye – vocals, alto sax
Håvard Skaadel – piano
Anders Fongen – bass
Ola Dahl – percussion
Jan Andresen – saxophones
Mina Omestad Aurlund – french horn
Bjørnar Nilsen – baritone horn
Frode Finne – trumpet, flugelhorn
Sissel Sellæg, Elisabeth Slettnes, Anne Slettnes, Inger Grini Skagoset and Jane Fryer Gair – singers