We'll Always Have Paris
the PARIS album sessions
from films made by Jon Hiseman of Mike’s solo performances at
19, rue Paul Fort, Paris - the sessions that produced the 2016 PARIS album
She Loves You * Nähe des Geliebten * View From The Drawbridge
Tender Love * You Make Me Feel Brand New * Sophisticated Lady
SECOND SET (26.46)
Monk’s Mood * Solitude * You Leave Me Breathless * Gaudy Bar
Propositions * Because * Triumphant Entry * A Flower is a Lovesome Thing
THIRD SET (53.49)
Sound of Caress * A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
If Thou Must Love Me * My Lover’s Coat * D.T.T.M. * Music Is…..
Good Old Wagon * Rooster Rabelais * Blues For Terenzi
PARIS: CD available from Westbrook Records
Mike Westbrook PARIS score July 2016
Mike Westbrook PARIS SCORE July 2016
Mike Westbrook We’ll Always Have Paris, Videostream
As the title suggests, in its evocation of Bogie and Bergman in Casablanca, there are elements of nostalgia and deep romance in these solo performances. Recorded in Paris, in July 2016, and now streamed over consecutive weeks, these three previously unseen sets capture not only Westbrook’s all-too-rarely seen piano gifts but are also a distillation of his and wife Kate’s’ output and influences. An Ellingtonian to his core, there’s an apt, meditative take on ‘Solitude’, a celebratory ‘Music Is…’ from On Duke’s Birthday and a rhapsodic ‘A Flower is a Lovesome Thing’ to close the first set.
Lennon and McCartney are also favourites, including a splendidly sublimated ‘She Loves You’. But it’s Westbrook and wife Kate’s material that sew the sessions together: ‘A View from the Drawbridge’, an early love song from Citadel/Room 315, a paean to Kate Westbrook, is gorgeously rendered, but coming right up to date, the rapscallion wit of ‘Rooster Rabelais’ from the Granite band’s Earth Felt the Wound is a standout.
As befits the intimacy of the performances, Jon Hiseman, to whom the recordings are dedicated, filmed the sets in close up, against essentially black backdrops with Westbrook in black with the blackest of Steinways, which contrasts all the better and sets up the flesh tones of the pianist’s face and hands. This partly fits the sense of loss that imbues much of the music, with dedications to the missed Danilo Terenzi and Tony Marsh. But there’s also a sense that we are right alongside Westbrook, whose minimal movement at the keyboard, his gentle smiles, his mild laying of his hands in his lap as if to say, ‘That was almost it’, allow us to focus solely on the music. Chris Topley’s editing, with gentle mixes from over the shoulder to fingers poised above those unforgiving keys further enforces this sense of isolation yet intimacy, of humility before the music.
These pared down pleasures are a joy, a fitting way to celebrate Westbrook, the music he loves and the bonds of care he has for the family of musicians he’s collaborated with over the years, most notably Kate. The only surprise is you don’t glance a gloved hand of hers rest upon the Steinway. Much more of the Westbrooks’ output is posted regularly on the WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show, movies not to miss. Play it again, Kate and Mike.
Andy Robson - Jazzwise
Jon Hiseman, Barbara Thompson, Azar Azar, Hélène Aziza, Mike Westbrook, Kate Westbrook
at 19, rue Paul Fort, Paris