Tracks 1 - 6 Recorded at the Outside In Festival, Crawley, U.K.
Sept 7th, 1992. MIKE WESTBROOK ORCHESTRA Kate Westbrook - voice; Dominique Pifarely - violin; Anthony Kerr - vibraphone; Pete Saberton - piano, synthesizer; Frank Schaefer - cello; Steve Berry - bass; Peter Fairclough - drums Chris Biscoe, Alan Barnes, Peter Whyman, Dave Bitelli,
Alan Wakeman, Chris Caldwell, - saxophones Graham Russell, Stuart Brooks, Noel Langley,
James MacMillan, - trumpets Paul Nieman, Adrian Lane, Tracy Holloway,- trombones Andy Grappy - tuba Mike Westbrook - piano, MD
Track 7 Recorded at Cheltenham Festival, U.K.
July 3rd, 1995 STEVE MARTLAND BAND Steve Martland - conductor; Peter Whyman - soprano & alto saxophone solos; Steve Hamilton, Chris Caldwell, - saxophones; Lee Butler - trumpet; Mike Kearsey - trombone; Phil Boyden - violin; Tim Maple - guitar David Maric - piano; Pvt R Farrer - marimba; Malcolm Moore - bass guitar; Simon Pearson - drums
Premiered in July 1992 at a 3-day Mike Westbrook Festival in Catania, Sicily, "The Orchestra of Smith's Academy" denotes a program of Westbrook compositions and arrangements that all derived from a certain harmonic device. The composer discovered it in 1983 while staying at Smith's Hotel in Glasgow, and subsequently called it "Smith's Hotel Chord". Westbrook used the chord as a matrix for large works such as "After Smith's Hotel" and "London Bridge Is Broken Down" where three of the tunes in this program are taken from. Two more compositions - I.D.M.A.T. (after Ellington's It Don't Mean A Thing) and Measure For Measure (commissioned by the Vienna Art Orchestra) - received their first public performances at the Catania Festival.
In addition to the six orchestra works, the CD contains a composition written for the Steve Martland Band and dedicated to the memory of trombone player Danilo Terenzi.
ENJA RECORDS ENJ-9358 2.
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Westbrook is among the most serious composers in any field at present. Few contemporary classical composers have covered so much ground, or worked in as many forms as Westbrook, a self taught musician. Measure For Measure shows how far from what is conventionally regarded as jazz the Westbrooks can go. A collage of verse from the Shakespeare play, whose music comments wittily on Viennese School aesthetics, Measure For Measure is seriously 'serious'. It remains, however, like all Mike Westbrook's work, rooted in jazz. The Independent.
Whether he is writing for a trio or a 20 piece orchestra, Westbrook's style is unmistakable. He combines instruments in unique ways, twists conventional jazz forms into surprising new shapes and seasons it all with delicate touches of humour and irony. The Observer.
In Westbrook, big band music has an historically aware champion who can keep the genre moving forward with wit and style. The Scotsman.