On 30th August 1992 the Mike Westbrook Orchestra performed Big Band Rossini in the Albert Hall, the first time a jazz ensemble had featured in the main programme of the BBC Proms.
This happened the behest of the late John Drummond, then Proms director. A man who never shied away from controversy, he had been responsible for booking The Cortège into the Edinburgh Festival in 1979, the first time a jazz work had been included.
At the Albert Hall, the bust of Sir Henry Wood wore shades. The Orchestra’s supporters were out in force, but the majority of the regular Prom audience were skeptical, some openly hostile. The promenaders began the concert with their backs to the stage, en masse. Next day the BBC even received some hate mail.
Drummond’s decision was soon vindicated as the Orchestra took over that vast space and delivered one of its finest performances of the Rossini piece. When it came to the finale the place erupted, and the promenaders pogodanced to the Gallop from William Tell.
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August 2020 Posts
Remembering John and Margery Styles, founder members of Smith’s Academy.
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In the lockdown months, my love of charcoal has deepened. The medium is as old as Art itself. A versatile drawing material, charcoal is made from Willow that is burnt slowly. When worked on paper, it will smudge, stipple, make the finest of lines, and the crudest. When erased, the black/ grey paper surface becomes almost luminous. The story of Diana and Actæon fascinates me and I have made many large oil paintings on the subject, as well as work in other media. Ovids tale describes the goddess Diana bathing in a woodland pool, Actæon the hunter spying on her, and the consequences. To explore the relationship between the nude figure and landscape, I have re-imagined this classic confrontation. My most recent version of the story brings the two protagonists to the open sea. These charcoal drawings have run in parallel to the release of my Granite Band album Earth Felt the Wound. Kate Westbrook

To the Gallery

Kate's Gallery
24 August 2020
THE LOCKDOWN CHARCOALS - Kate’s new work on Diana and Actæon
No. 38
Kate's Gallery

The Royal Albert Hall
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Programme notes for the WestbrookJazz Picture Show
"First Jazz Night at the Proms"
which can be seen here
The WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show has moved here
30  August 2020
No. 39
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Kate & Mike Westbrook
Kate and Mike Westbrook