Kate Westbrook (tenor horn. piccolo. bamboo flute. voice) Phil Minton (trumpet, voice) Dave Plews, Guy Barker. Dick Pearce (trumpets) Malcolm Griffiths (trombone), Alan Sinclair, Dave Powell (tubas) Chris Hunter. Phil Todd. Chris Biscoe (saxes) Lindsay Cooper (bassoon, oboe, saxophone) Brian Godding (guitar), Georgie Born (cello),
Steve Cook (bass) Dave Barry (drums) Mike Westbrook (piano, tuba)
Produced by Mike Westbrook, Kate Westbrook and Fiachra Trench.
Enja Records ENJ 9587 2
Winner of the Grand Prix du Disque, Montreux, 1982
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The Westbrooks have made many beautiful and profound records but this is my
favourite. That I can say that without forgetting Metropolis, Citadel/Room 315,
Marching Song, The Westbrook Blake, Chanson Irresponsable, Mama Chicago, London
Bridge, Art Wolf, The Westbrook Rossini or On Duke’s Birthday is a measure of the man’s
music. How many jazz composers could point to a career as rich in masterpieces as
that? One always feels with a Westbrook & Westbrook project that every detail has been
addressed in order to make the most complete artistic statement. The first emphasis is
on the music, the second to ensure it allows the expression of something beyond itself.
Here the idea of a New Orleans funeral procession is a metaphor for life’s journey.
Shame then that Enja have truncated the original explanatory sleevenotes to their
detriment. No matter, you can still revel in the righteousness of Cordoba, Westbrook’s
magnificent setting of Lorca, or the glorious Santarcangelo with Hubert Parry’s
arrangement of Jerusalem at its heart. There are splendours too in Democratie and July ’79, an affirmation of the natural world in Erme Estuary and so much, more beauty in
this CD. Should there be a heaven and should I get an invite, may this be the music to
carry me there. Duncan Heining - Jazzwise - June 2011
“It's only recently that the evolution of distinctly European forms of jazz has
been acknowledged, but it began decades ago. One of the first milestones
was this huge, unsettling work. Based on the form of a traditional New
Orleans funeral, with its dirges, lamentations and joyful, life-affirming return
from the graveyard, it involves 17 musicians, two voices and poems by
Federico García Lorca, William Blake and Herman Hesse, among others. Over
the whole thing hovers the gigantic shadow of Duke Ellington. The Cortège
evolved over several years and, if there is a definitive version, this 1982
recording is it.” Dave Gelly - The Observer - 12 June 2011
Long unavailable and reissued for Mike Westbrook’s 75th birthday, this is
the great composer at a 1970s peak, creating music for his 17-piece
orchestra including his binary star, wife Kate) quite unlike anyone else’s. A
natural eclectic who shapes his eclecticism to say what he has to say,
Westbrook takes poems by Lorca, Blake, Rimbaud, Hesse, Clare, dialect
pieces from Italy and Finland, English and Swedish folk song and binds them
(very loosely) round the Life-Death-Life parade of a New Orleans funeral.
Woven into it are threads of English folk myth, Andalusian processional and
political comment. Notwithstanding any intellectual underpinnings, the
music has the capacity to reflect the universal in the diversity of the
particular; and behind its colour and organisation is a freedom and
malleability that brings out the best in a superb band. Like Westbrook, it’s
unique. Ray Comiskey - The Irish Times - 13 May 2011