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Kate Westbrook

Kate Westbrook was born in Britain but spent much of her childhood in the USA and Canada. Educated at Dartington Hall School, in Devon. Kate went on to study Fine Art at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, and at Reading University, before returning to live and work on the East and West coasts of America, and travelling in Mexico. The first solo show of her paintings was at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, in 1963. On returning to the UK she continued to exhibit her work and she taught at Leeds College of Art, at that time in the forefront of experimental theatre and performance art. Kate's musical career began in the mid '70s when she joined the Mike Westbrook Brass Band, and gave up teaching to concentrate on the dual career of painter and musician.

Kate has toured widely throughout Europe, and as far afield as Canada, Australia and the Far East. She has broadcast on radio and TV and has recorded more than 20 albums. Her vocal range embraces Contemporary Music, Opera, Music Hall, as well as Jazz and Popular Song. She has sung the role of Anna in The Seven Deadly Sins by Brecht and Weill with the London Symphony Orchestra, arias by Rossini with the Mike Westbrook Orchestra in Big Band Rossini at the BBC Proms, and songs by the Beatles with the Westbrook Band in Off Abbey Road. With fellow vocalist Phil Minton Kate has sung the poetry of William Blake ( Mike Westbrook’s settings) in many countries and on two albums Bright as Fire (1980) and Glad Day (1997) She multi-tracked most of the roles in the television opera Good Friday 1663 (with libretto by Helen Simpson), now released on Jazzprint. In the Contemporary Music field, Kate has performed Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together and premiered Phil Clark’s All The Rage. Kate was a featured soloist in the first performance of Michael Finnissy's The Transgressive Gospel in the 2009 Spitalfields Festival.

In her recording project Cuff Clout, (Voiceprint) a neoteric music-hall, performed by her group The Skirmishers, featuring vocalist John Winfield, Kate's lyrics are set by eight composers from the worlds of pop, rock, jazz and classical music. On her solo album Goodbye Peter Lorre (also Voiceprint) she is accompanied by pianists John Alley and Mike Westbrook and the vocal group Fine Trash. Other albums include Music For Other Occasions with Lindsay Cooper and the Duo album, Love Or Infatuation with Mike Westbrook, based on the Hollywood Songs of Frederich Hollaender.

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Album Review

Mike Westbrook: London Bridge Live In Zurich 1990

Read "London Bridge Live In Zurich 1990" reviewed by Chris May

Viewed from the other side of the Atlantic, Mike Westbrook is probably Britain's best kept secret. A composer, pianist and tubaist--above all, composer--Westbrook's recording career began in the late 1960s. Since then he has released upwards of fifty albums, spanning jazz rock through jazz and contemporary-classical fusions such as the 2 x CD London Bridge Live In Zurich 1990. Westbrook's albums have been performed by lineups ranging in size from trios through to, in this case, an eleven-piece jazz orchestra ...

Album Review

Kate Westbrook: GRANITE

Read "GRANITE" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Over the years, Kate Westbrook has recorded an impressive number of albums with her husband Mike; from 1975's For The Record onwards. She's released a clutch under her own name too, including Good-Bye Peter Lorre (2005), Cuff Clout (2004) and The Nijinska Chamber (2006)--all on Voiceprint Records. Without doubt, her vocal delivery is stylised and idiosyncratic, arguably reminding listeners of renowned German interwar cabaret and theatrical singers such as Lotte Lenya and Marlene Dietrich. However, she's not just a one ...

Extended Analysis


Read "GRANITE" reviewed by Duncan Heining

GRANITE is Kate Westbrook's fourth solo album, though saying so seems quite an artificial point given her partnership with husband Mike Westbrook over so many recordings. As he is quick to point out, Kate's texts are crucial to the shaping of compositions and projects. That said, GRANITE is Kate Westbrook's most ambitious record to date, its libretto matched perfectly by some of the most intriguing music her partner has created during his long career. In fact, these performances ...

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Once again, one was struck by the unique talent and incisive charm of the singer. Singer? Hardly word enough to describe an entertainer musician who knows as no-one else how to change words into notes, an all-round comedienne who uses her voice infallibly with a poetic sense of the dramatic, a multi-lingual singer (she is equally at home singing in French, German and Italian as well as English) who takes the stage with a radiant ease, much grace, humour and sensuality in all aspects of song. The exquisite Kate...

Pascai Anquetil Monde De La Musique

CUFF CLOUT REVIEW British vocalist Kate Westbrook has a gift for music theater. Updating early 20th-century English music hall on Cuff Clout, Westbrook sets her witty and eccentric texts to bold and fascinating genre-crossing music composed by eight collaborators, including her bandleader husband Mike Westbrook and other Anglo jazz worthies Chris Biscoe, Lindsay Cooper and Barbara Thompson.

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

London Bridge Live In...

Westbrook Records



Westbrook Records


a l l s o r t s

ASC Records


Cuff Clout: A...

Femme Music


Goodbye Peter Lorre

Femme Music




Steve Dalachinsky
poet / spoken word

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