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Articles | Featured | Future

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

In Memory of Lou Gare

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Best known for his work with the experimental, avant-garde collective AMM Music, Lou Gare began his career in jazz in the early 1960s, playing in one of Mike Westbrook's early groups. In more recent times, in Devon, he reconnected with Westbrook and became a stalwart member of Westbrook's orchestra and an inspiration to its younger musicians. I was fortunate enough to see Gare with the band on two occasions and remember with fondness the quiet drama of his presence and ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Last Night At The Old Place

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By any standards the release of The Last Night At The Old Place will prove to be one of archive releases of the year, second only, perhaps, to the 'Lost' Coltrane album. All power, therefore, to Mike Gavin who has inherited the Cadillac catalogue from the late John Jack with his first release of archive material. The Last Night at the Old Place gives those of us far too young to have been present--or in my case just too young ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Westbrook Concert Band: The Last Night At The Old Place

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This live recording which took place on 25th May 1968, celebrated the last night at Ronnie Scott's Club in London's Gerrard Street. Scott and his business partner Pete King moved the club in 1965 to its current location in Frith Street, but as the lease had a couple of years left to run they generously handed it over to younger musicians to run it as a temporary venue. The “Old Place," as it became known, finally closed in 1968. So ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mike Westbrook at Bury St. Edmunds Festival

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Mike Westbrook and Kate Westbrook Bury St. Edmunds Festival The Church of St. John the Evangelist May 19, 2017 Of all his many achievements, Mike Westbrook's The Westbrook Blake is one of his finest. Few works in jazz have combined music and text, voices and instrumentation, to such profound effect. The settings here of William Blake's prophetic and yet earthly revelations -by Kate Westbrook and the late British poet and revolutionary Adrian Mitchell -have a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Westbrook: Live 1972

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Mike Westbrook Live 1972 captures a fleeting snapshot of the transitional group Westbrook assembled in between hisMetropolis era big band and the jazz rock venture Solid Gold Cadillac featuring Phil Minton's irrepressible vocals. This quintet lasted only a few weeks but the line-up boasted Gary Boyle, guitarist of the legendary band Isotope. Also, George Khan on tenor saxophone and drummer Alan Jackson both stalwarts of Westbrook's previous ensembles were present along with newcomer Roger 'Butch' Potter on bass guitar, who ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Westbrook Concert Band: Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks

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It's hardly surprising that Mike Westbrook reigned supreme in the latter quarter of the 1960s and early 70s. His big band was voted top of that category in the late-lamented Melody Maker British jazz polls for 1970 (and the two years either side of that). In the same year, his third album, Marching Song, recorded a year earlier came third in the category “LP Of The Year" (the number one album that year was John McLaughlin's seminal Extrapolation so there ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Westbrook: Paris

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Listen to any number of Mike Westbrook records and you might want to ask, “Why doesn't he take a solo?" Aside from the occasional piano cadenza, Westbrook seems to prefer to let his compositions do the talking, ably aided by trustworthy musical confederates. Westbrook celebrated his 80th birthday in March 2016 and Paris is a perfect way of acknowledging that noble event. Produced and recorded live by Jon Hiseman, the album is a feast for the ears. Hiseman ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Westbrook & Company: A Bigger Show - Live

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For the last few years, pianist-composer Mike Westbrook has been leading a very fine big band down in Devon but this is the first time they have made it on to CD. In fact, this is an expanded ensemble with three vocalists, two bass players, two guitarists and two drummers. The clue is in the title, this truly is A Bigger Show with the emphasis on the word “show." Some people have never got what the Westbrooks have been up ...

PROFILES

Mike Westbrook: Art Wolf at 75

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Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine a jazz composer who began with Ellington and then moved on through Mingus. He soon encompassed rock music, Kurt Weill, Rossini, the traditions of English church music and the pastoralism of Vaughan Williams and Holst, but still found a place in his music for The Beatles, European political cabaret and The Great American Songbook. And what if his inspirations ranged from painters like Paul Nash, Caspar Wolf and J.M.W. Turner ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Westbrook Orchestra: The Cortege

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At its richest, pianist/composer Mike Westbrook's work is to jazz what grand opera, in the classical world, is to chamber music. The Cortege is Westbrook at his richest, leading a 17-piece orchestra through an ambitious and brilliantly realized suite, loosely themed around the idea of a funeral procession and its after-party. Thirty years after its first release on Original Records, The Cortege remains one of finest achievements of British orchestral jazz, and has been reissued as a two-CD set to ...