Mike Westbrook Live
Mike Westbrook
Live 1972
Mike Westbrook
George Khan, Butch Potter, Gary Boyle, Alan Jackson
1. Travelin'
2. Compassion *
3. Marching Song +
4. Spaces +
5. Down On The Farm
6. Pleasure City
7. Metropolis IX
A tasty little live snapshot from London, Devon and venues unknown of the transitional band Mike Westbrook put together in early 1972 in between his Metropolis era big band and the jazz rock manoeuvres he would embark on with Phil Minton later that year. Westbrook stalwarts George Khan and Alan Jackson are joined by Butch Potter (on “bass/flute/pogostick”) and Isotope’s Gary Boyle on guitar.
With its wide-open bluesy meanderings, “Travellin’” immediately has you flashing on Miles Davis - it sounds like a less funky outtake from Bitches Brew, Westbrook’s harmonica fed through a wah-wah resulting in the same kind of feral howl Talk Talk would hit upon with the harp on “Eden”. “Compassion” is a more freewheeling piece veering from AMM-style dissonance into passages of Ayler-esque skronk. “Marching Song” features Kahn’s amped up sax extensively, honking a rich blue seam before Boyle’s guitar (a blistering fuzzy delight throughout, even when quoting The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”) takes over. Like the spectral, fluid “Spaces”, this track is previously unheard, not having featured on the original Japan-only issue of this album. Whether an accident of sequencing or not, the album reaches its high point with the final three tracks: “Down On The Farm” again starts with the band seemingly entirely unguided - a strange folkish raga that then builds into a full-on rock freakout, rotating two chords with aggression and giving Boyle full freedom to lash down straight liquid fire. “Pleasure City” builds from scattershot minimalism through some stealthy swing to a fantastic torsioned spiral of jazz rock - very reminiscent of Miles’s “Sanctuary” - before “Metropolis IX” closes the set out with a gorgeous dreamy wash of suggestive Rhodes and Boyle fully evanescing into delay-laden filigrees of exquisite poise. A welcome revisit to a great lost moment in British jazz.
The Wire - Oct 2017
Mike Westbrook Recordings
George Khan - Electric Saxophone
Gary Boyle - Guitar
Mike Westbrook - Electric Piano, Harmonica
Alan Jackson - Drums, Alto Saxophone
Butch Potter - Bass Guitar, Pogo Stick, Flute
Recorded at Kelly College, Tavistock, 15th January 1972
* Recorded at Phoenix P.H. London, 23 February 1972
+ Previously unissued, venues unknown

Compositions by Mike Westbrook
Additional credit for this CD:
CD remastered by Jon Hiseman at Temple Music Studios
With thanks to John Jack, Cadillac Records
and Paul Wilson, The British Library Sound Archive.

In memory of Roger 'Butch' Potter (1943 - 2003)

More information on Hux Records site

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Mike Westbrook