MIKE WESTBROOK

Progressive Big Band / Post-Fusion Contemporary / Post Bop / Avant-Garde Jazz / 21st Century Modern / Pop/Art Song/Folk / Jazz Related Soundtracks / Jazz Related Rock / Big Band • United Kingdom
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Michael John David 'Mike' Westbrook (born 21 March 1936 in High Wycombe) is an English jazz pianist, composer, and writer of orchestrated jazz pieces.

Mike Westbrook grew up in Torquay. After a spell in Accountancy and the National Service (some of it posted to Germany) he went to art school, studying painting, in Plymouth where he also began his first bands in 1958, soon joined by such musicians as John Surman, Lou Gare and Keith Rowe. After moving to London in 1962 Westbrook led numerous bands, large and small, and played regularly at the Old Place and the Little Theatre Club. Together with Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Westbrook shared the role of House Band at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. He became a key figure in the development of British Jazz, producing several big band records with the newly formed Mike Westbrook Concert Band between 1967 and 1969 for the Deram
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MetropolisMetropolis
Remastered
Bgo - Beat Goes on 1999
$7.84
$9.69 (used)
Live 1972Live 1972
Hux Records 2017
$11.93
$16.77 (used)
Starcross BridgeStarcross Bridge
Hathut Records 2018
$13.34
$11.80 (used)
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MIKE WESTBROOK Discography

MIKE WESTBROOK albums / top albums

MIKE WESTBROOK Celebration album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Celebration
Post Bop 1967
MIKE WESTBROOK Release album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Release
Post Bop 1968
MIKE WESTBROOK Marching Song Vol. 1 album cover 2.96 | 3 ratings
Marching Song Vol. 1
Progressive Big Band 1969
MIKE WESTBROOK Marching Song Vol. 2 album cover 2.96 | 3 ratings
Marching Song Vol. 2
Progressive Big Band 1969
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook's Love Songs album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Mike Westbrook's Love Songs
Progressive Big Band 1970
MIKE WESTBROOK Metropolis album cover 4.17 | 3 ratings
Metropolis
Progressive Big Band 1971
MIKE WESTBROOK Citadel/Room 315 album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Citadel/Room 315
Progressive Big Band 1975
MIKE WESTBROOK Love/Dream And Variations album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Love/Dream And Variations
Big Band 1976
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook's Brass Band : Plays 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike Westbrook's Brass Band : Plays "For The Record"
Avant-Garde Jazz 1976
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook Brass Band : Goose Sauce album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike Westbrook Brass Band : Goose Sauce
Avant-Garde Jazz 1978
MIKE WESTBROOK Piano album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano
Post Bop 1978
MIKE WESTBROOK Mama Chicago album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mama Chicago
Progressive Big Band 1979
MIKE WESTBROOK The Westbrook Blake (Bright As Fire) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Westbrook Blake (Bright As Fire)
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1980
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook Brass Band : The Paris Album (En Concert À La Chapelle Des Lombards) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike Westbrook Brass Band : The Paris Album (En Concert À La Chapelle Des Lombards)
Avant-Garde Jazz 1981
MIKE WESTBROOK The Cortege album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Cortege
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1982
MIKE WESTBROOK A Little Westbrook Music album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Little Westbrook Music
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1983
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook, Kate Westbrook ‎: London Bridge Is Broken Down album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike Westbrook, Kate Westbrook ‎: London Bridge Is Broken Down
Progressive Big Band 1988
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook Orchestra ‎: Bar Utopia album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike Westbrook Orchestra ‎: Bar Utopia
Progressive Big Band 1996
MIKE WESTBROOK Kate Westbrook & Mike Westbrook : Love or Infatuation album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kate Westbrook & Mike Westbrook : Love or Infatuation
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1997
MIKE WESTBROOK Westbrook & Company ‎: Platterback album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Westbrook & Company ‎: Platterback
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1999
MIKE WESTBROOK Glad Day (Settings Of William Blake) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Glad Day (Settings Of William Blake)
Progressive Big Band 1999
MIKE WESTBROOK Westbrook Music Theatre ‎: Good Friday 1663 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Westbrook Music Theatre ‎: Good Friday 1663
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2001
MIKE WESTBROOK The Westbrook Trio : L'Ascenseur / The Lift album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Westbrook Trio : L'Ascenseur / The Lift
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2002
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook / The Village Band : Waxeywork Show album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike Westbrook / The Village Band : Waxeywork Show
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2007
MIKE WESTBROOK Kate Westbrook, Mike Westbrook ‎: Allsorts album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kate Westbrook, Mike Westbrook ‎: Allsorts
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2009
MIKE WESTBROOK Kate Westbrook & Mike Westbrook : Fine'n Yellow album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kate Westbrook & Mike Westbrook : Fine'n Yellow
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2010
MIKE WESTBROOK Starcross Bridge album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Starcross Bridge
21st Century Modern 2018

MIKE WESTBROOK EPs & splits

MIKE WESTBROOK live albums

MIKE WESTBROOK Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live
Jazz Related Rock 1973
MIKE WESTBROOK On Duke's Birthday album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
On Duke's Birthday
Progressive Big Band 1985
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook, Chris Biscoe, Kate Westbrook : Love For Sale album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike Westbrook, Chris Biscoe, Kate Westbrook : Love For Sale
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1986
MIKE WESTBROOK Rossini album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rossini
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1987
MIKE WESTBROOK Off Abbey Road album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Off Abbey Road
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1990
MIKE WESTBROOK Westbrook  - Rossini : Zürich Live 1986 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Westbrook - Rossini : Zürich Live 1986
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1994
MIKE WESTBROOK The Orchestra Of Smith's Academy album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Orchestra Of Smith's Academy
Progressive Big Band 1998
MIKE WESTBROOK Westbrook Music Theatre ‎: The Ass album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Westbrook Music Theatre ‎: The Ass
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2001
MIKE WESTBROOK Mike Westbrook - The New Westbrook Orchestra ‎: Chanson Irresponsable album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike Westbrook - The New Westbrook Orchestra ‎: Chanson Irresponsable
Progressive Big Band 2003
MIKE WESTBROOK After Smith's Hotel album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
After Smith's Hotel
Avant-Garde Jazz 2015
MIKE WESTBROOK A Bigger Show album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Bigger Show
Progressive Big Band 2016
MIKE WESTBROOK Paris album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Paris
Post Bop 2016
MIKE WESTBROOK The Last Night At The Old Place album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Last Night At The Old Place
Progressive Big Band 2018
MIKE WESTBROOK In Memory of Lou Gare album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Memory of Lou Gare
Post Bop 2018
MIKE WESTBROOK Catania album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Catania
Progressive Big Band 2018
MIKE WESTBROOK After Abbey Road: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles' Classic album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
After Abbey Road: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles' Classic
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2019

MIKE WESTBROOK demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MIKE WESTBROOK re-issues & compilations

MIKE WESTBROOK Marching Song Vol. 1 & 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Marching Song Vol. 1 & 2
Progressive Big Band 1998
MIKE WESTBROOK Fields And Forms album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fields And Forms
Progressive Big Band 2008
MIKE WESTBROOK 0.00 | 0 ratings
" three into wonderfull "
Post Bop 2012
MIKE WESTBROOK Live 1972 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live 1972
Post Bop 2017
MIKE WESTBROOK Marching Song album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Marching Song
Progressive Big Band 2017

MIKE WESTBROOK singles (0)

MIKE WESTBROOK movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Glad Day Live
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2014

MIKE WESTBROOK Reviews

MIKE WESTBROOK The Cortege

Album · 1982 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Sean Trane
Often regarded as Westbrook’s most ambitious work, The Cortege is only one of the many over-the-edge oeuvres he’s done, but this early-80’s piece dos walk away with the gold medal. Indeed, we’re often fairly far away from the jazz medium, and the best way Cortege could be pigeonholed is progressive jazz-fusion. Among the cast of musicians, you’ll find rock-alumni Brian Godding (guitar) and Steve Cook (bass), RIO-crowd Phil Minton (vocals and trumpet), Lindsey Cooper (bassoon), Georgie Born (cello) and pure-jazz personnel (Malcolm Griffiths (trombone), Guy Barker, Dick Pearce and Dave Plew (trumpet), etc… The project was assembled when Westbrook composed the piece and it was performed twice in the UK and twice in Italy in 79, then in Germany in 80, then recorded for a BBC Radio 3 broadcast. The “piece” continued to evolve until it was finally set to disc in early 82 and release as a triple vinyl album. The works were then performed throughout France and Switzerland (Montreux Festival), and performed for the last time in Italy mid-84.

The vocals, courtesy of Mike’s wife Kate Westbrook (also on flutes) and Phil Minton have a semi-operatic feel, often mixed in with RIO-like vocals (Henry Cow and Art Bears’ Dagmar Krause comes to mind) with lyrics taken from different poet legends like Garcia-Lorca, Arthur Rimbaud, Herman Hesse, William Blake, Belli and a few more, mostly sung in French (credibly enough), Spanish, English or Swedish. 15 tracks, ranging from 3 to 17 minutes, sung in around six European languages for a total of two hours plus of challenging music… quite a programme and quite a few hours of intense listening in sight, really!!

Opening on an almost hard-rock riff (reminiscent of what Rush could do), It Starts Here features the moods change quite often, veering from JR/F to RIO in less time than it takes to type it down, sometimes featuring a shredder guitar solo (Godding). The same Godding is also quite present in the following track Democratie (with Rimbaud lyrics), sharing the spotlight with Cooper’s bassoon. The mood does settle down (sometimes too much) and become classical with the following two tracks, the moods alternating between the slow and boring to the haunting clarinet-dominated. Erme Estuary (dedicated to Westbrook’s father, who died during the creation protest), while Girano seems to go for an intermediate position between red-hot fusion and jazzier moments, especially with plenty of steaming horns. You’ll easily guess the album-shortest track Piano features Westbrook himself and solo. Georgie Born’s cello opens Lenador, where Kat’s vocals near the sombre, if not sinister or downright funeral, but Barker’s outstanding trumpet pulls it back from the dead.

Most of the second part (meaning the last three sides of vinyl, but second disc of the CD Enja label reissue) is much of the same impressive ilk, but the classical genre dominates the debate in a much more convincing fashion. Well, The Cortege is definitely not an easy oeuvre to digest, hardly helped by its duration well over two hours and a diversity and complexity that can baffle even the most demanding progressive-minded aficionados. To make the absorption easier, the album comes with an extensive booklet, where Westbrook takes great care to explain the individual pieces, even if the infos given are easily accessible for non-musicians. Certainly an out-of-the-ordinary release, and most likely Westbrook’s crowing achievement in his composing career.

MIKE WESTBROOK Love/Dream And Variations

Album · 1976 · Big Band
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
With the present album, Westbrook shows that his love for Duke Ellington’s big band jazz and that by 76, he still thought it was pertinent enough to still engage in this kind of musical endeavour. With some seven brasswind players – 4 trumpets (including Lowther) and 3 trombones (incl. Rutherford) – and four woodwind players – all playing flute, sax and clarinet – the group is also seeing ex-Blossom Toes guitarist Godding, ex-Matching Mole Dave McRae (el. Piano) and the “usual suspects” of Laurence (bass), Jackson (drums) and Mitchell (vibes & percs). Quite a program that generally not well announced by the rain-drenched resort of the artwork, but right from the first note, it cannot be clearer that this is going to be an Ellington-ian homage.

Don’t look for anything revolutionary in the present album though, despite a lot of the names into the JR/F and avant-garde realms; in here we’re very much stuck in late-40’s and early 50’s big band stuff, even if there is the odd bit that sounds a tad more dramatic and tense. It’s mostly gentle happy swing-style compositions; and to be honest, we don’t hear much piano (el. or ac.) and guitar in the mix, outside some rare more-dedicated passages. The origins of the commissioned works date from almost three years prior to its release, getting its first live rendition late 74 in Liverpool, but here we get the early 76 studio version. Definitely not my cup of tea, but if you’re into big-band stuff, you’ll likely love this mid-70’s release

MIKE WESTBROOK Metropolis

Album · 1971 · Progressive Big Band
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Sean Trane
Of the few concept albums composer Mike Westbrook did in the height of the British-jazz’s golden age, Metropolis might just be his more essential work. Generally regarded as an Ellington student, many of his works presented a strong traditional big-band feel, even if Westbrook often forayed outside those boundaries with albums like the very uneven Marching Songs projects, or Mama Chicago. And if albums live Love/Dreams or Duke’s Birthday are clearly axed as homage, other works like the amazing Cortege or the stupendous present Metropolis can be regarded as his best works, precisely because they stray the farthest away from the Ellington aural realm. Composed in parts as early as late 68, Metropolis had seen many different versions and line-ups until it received its final studio form in the summer of 71, recorded over three days in the famous Lansdowne studios. Graced with an outstanding and atypical (for jazz circles) gatefold empty-highway artwork, the 9-movement Metropolis sees a big part of the who’s who in the London Jazz scene as partakers, including stalwarts like Wheeler, Beckett, Lowther, Rutherford, Osborne, Warleigh, Skidmore, Warren, Khan, Taylor, Boyle, Miller, Laurence, Jackson, Marshall and the delicious but discrete Norma Winstone… just to mention those. Yes, we’re in a big-band mode, but we’re definitely not treading the traditional type, but more of a JR/F mode.

Don’t be afraid by the relatively improvised and dissonant intro, because it’s really one of the only two times Metropolis will stray across the un-melodic boundary. Indeed, the second movement opens of wild trumpets to feature an up-tempo JR/F, while Miller’s bass paves the way for Warleigh’s flute and Winstone’s strange vocalising on the third movement. The album will keep on alternating between wild and enthralling fusion moments to more-improvised collective meanderings, and some (but not many) inescapable Ellington-influenced passages. The album reaches some awesome and unsuspected climaxes around the end of the 6th movement, soon enhanced by slow Westbrook-piano and Boyle-guitar, but the 8th movement is also worth the detour and wait. The closing movement is an emotional exchange between Beckett’s trumpet and Westbrook’s piano (and later Taylor’s Rhodes), quite a fitting outro for such an amazing concept suite

Be careful with the BGO label CD-reissue, which screws up heavily on the track-increment thing, though. With this album, Westbrook arrives on the same level as Graham Collier, Michael Garrick, Neil Ardley and Ian Carr in achieving a very British mix of jazz and rock, one that’s fairly different and emancipated of the Atlantic cousin. As far as I am concerned this album is a no-brainer.

MIKE WESTBROOK Marching Song Vol. 2

Album · 1969 · Progressive Big Band
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
If memory serves, Westbrook and a few London jazz scene stalwarts all were part of their armies’ jazz marching bands; and apparently for some, it had some lasting impact, to the point of dedicating album in the course of the pacifist-era in the heart of the Cold War. Obviously, it worked (and sold) well enough to release a second batch of the same kind. Ok, I’m exaggerating a tad, because not everyone of these tracks are actually marching band tunes. Indeed the ones where Westbrook plays piano are not marching band tunes (never seen a portable piano out on a stroll). With a consequent cast of musical strollers - 13 brasswind players (incl. Wheeler, Lowther, Griffiths, Rutherford, Gibbs) and seven woodwind players (incl. Surman, Osborne, Skidmore, Warren, Smith), we’re also finding three bassists (Miller, Bare Phillips and Laurence) and two drummers (Marshall – then in Soft Machine - and Jackson). Quite the fµçqing crowd, uh?? Anyway, this is the second of two albums, and they will have similar wartime child drawings and both will find a Decca subsidiary label Deram release, within a few months of each other, and to be fair, the Vol2 makes more sense as a concept than its predecessor.

Compared with the Vol1, which featured a few lengthy tracks, Vol2 presents some 11 tracks, even if there are some rather shorter (Requiem is less than a minute long), but still shows the 11-mins Conflict. Opening on the solemn Transition, Home is more of a big band affair and Rosie is unremarkable. The Surman-penned Prelude and Tension are two of the better tracks, providing much drama and intensity, while remaining calm; but the chaos starts (gently) with Introduction the fairly dissonant and improvised piece leading into the very boring and slow Ellington-ian Ballad precedes the 11-mins of absolutely chaotic mayhem from the Conflict track, almost uninterrupted quagmire of dissonant screeches and aggression, if it wasn’t for the second section made of drums and didgeridoo-like drone/growls into wind instruments, but here it doesn’t hurt or repel, although past the initial amusement, it overstays its welcome. The short Requiem leads into the dissonant intro of another Surman track, but Tarnished is a fairly quiet affair that doesn’t ruffle much feathers. The closing Memorial is a typical army jazz piece, mixed with some dissonant screechy wood screeches and growling brass growls.

Personally, I prefer the second volume of this double project, despite the two major bouts of dissonance, but I must be amazed by the almost-hour-long length of the album, where every facets of the wide spectrum of jazz seems to have its say.

MIKE WESTBROOK Marching Song Vol. 1

Album · 1969 · Progressive Big Band
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
If memory serves, Westbrook and a few London jazz scene stalwarts all were part of their armies’ jazz marching bands; and apparently for some, it had some lasting impact, to the point of dedicating album in the course of the pacifist-era in the heart of the Cold War. Ok, I’m exaggerating a tad, because not every one of these tracks are actually marching-band tunes. Indeed the ones where Westbrook plays piano are not marching band tunes (never seen a piano – even a portable one - out on a stroll). With a consequent cast of musical strollers - 13 brasswind players (incl. Wheeler, Lowther, Griffiths, Rutherford, Gibbs) and seven woodwind players (incl. Surman, Osborne, Skidmore, Warren, Smith), we’re also finding three bassists (Miller, Bare Phillips and Laurence) and two drummers (Marshall – then in Soft Machine - and Jackson). Quite the fµçqing crowd, uh?? Anyway, this is the first of two albums, and they will have similar wartime child drawings and both will find a Decca subsidiary label Deram release, within a few months of each other.

Well this type of musical endeavour has its schizophrenia bouts with the very brassy war marches like the opening Hooray and Marching Song(which is rather un-marching-like and the much more-intimate, experimental & sombre compositions like Landscape I & II, and Other World. Only one track is really quite down my own alley: Waltz For Joanna. The semi-chaotic end of the closing Marching song is relatively interesting, but comes a bit late in the album. Sooo As far as I am concerned, this is not that much of an album for me, but it’s not to say that it wouldn’t be for you.

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