Mike Westbrook and The Uncommon Orchestra return with one of Mike’s best known and most loved works On Duke’s Birthday dedicated to the memory of Duke Ellington.
Compositions for Jazz Orchestra have been a thread running through Mike Westbrook’s career since the 1960s. Regarded as Classics, works like Marching Song, Metropolis, Citadel/Room 315 and The Cortège have been widely performed at Festivals throughout Europe and the UK. His Big Band Rossini was the first jazz work ever to be performed in the BBC Proms. A three-day festival in Catania, Sicily in 1992 devoted to Mike’s work for the Orchestra, is commemorated in his recent album Catania.
The Uncommon Orchestra is a West Country-based big band formed ten years ago. The band is now established internationally and has released two highly acclaimed albums, A Bigger Show and In Memory of Lou Gare.
THE UNCOMMON ORCHESTRA Roz Harding Chris Biscoe Pete Whyman Sarah Dean Alan Wakeman Ian Wellens saxophones Dominique Pifarely violin Frank Schaefer cello Kate Westbrook Phil Minton voices Graham Russell Robin Pengilley Andy Hague Sam Massey trumpets Joe Carnell Sam Chamberlain-Keen Stewart Stunell Ashley Nayler trombones Billie Bottle piano Jesse Molins guitar Matthew North guitar Marcus Vergette bass Coach York drums musical direction Mike Westbrook Matthew Bourne
“A roaring ensemble, orchestrated by a master of the Art” Listomania
“ambitious, unapologetic and uncategorisable” Jazz Wise
ON DUKE’S BIRTHDAY “This is music of consummate elegance that recalls the rich harmonies and unusual tones of Harlem Airshaft, Creole Love Call, and even more so Billy Strayhorn’s works for the Ellington Orchestra”. Jazzwise
“Mike Westbrook’s homage to Duke Ellington, his first and deepest inspiration, is the very best kind of tribute in which one man uses his own luggage to evoke the spirit of another”. The Times