Formed in 1982 the Trio is the longest established and most widely travelled of all Mike’s ensembles. The group’s mix of composition, song and improvisation has been at the heart of many Westbrook projects, from the seminal Brass Band of the ‘70s to the current Uncommon Orchestra.
The unique repertoire around which the performance of the Band of Bands is based, has been shaped by the experience of touring and of collaborating with artists in many countries. There are re-creations of Westbrook classics alongside new compositions, and arrangements of some lesser known standards, all interpreted by some of the UK’s most original and distinctive soloists.
The new MIKE WESTBROOK BAND of BANDS brings together key musicians from Mike and Kate Westbrook’s many small-scale projects. Joining the Trio of Kate, Mike and saxophonist Chris Biscoe, are four long-time alumni,- accordionist Karen Street, saxophonist/clarinettist Pete Whyman, Marcus Vergette on bass and Coach York on drums.
“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
”one of the most unique, expressive and flexible voices one could find between the Atlantic and the Urals”- Jazz Magazine (France)
“He’s made the territory between post-bop and free-jazz entirely his own, deploying his arsenal of bent tones, slithering runs and bluesy multiphonics.” - The Guardian
“the accordion of the remarkable Karen Street transfixed the audience with a long unaccompanied improvisation…..the most astonishing single piece of playing I’ve heard this year.” The Blue Moment
“A fine virtuoso. The level of technical certainty was awesome.” - The Guardian
“Musician, bell-maker, sculptor, Marcus was born on the banks of the Mississippi River in Southern Illinois. He is a bass player renowned for his Mingus-influenced prowess.” Paintbox
“..powerhouse kit work - very hard, granular, crystalline and totally rock solid.” London Jazz
"The septet is both an expansion of the trio and a reduction of the big band, capable of handling everything from the fast bebop of the opening “Glad Day”, one of Westbrook’s pieces inspired by William Blake, through a brilliantly recast version of Billy Strayhorn’s “Johnny Come Lately” to the slow-rolling gospel cadences of “Blues for Terenzi” and the open spaces of “Unsigned Panorama”, with marvellous unaccompanied solos by Whyman (on clarinet) and Street". Richard Williams The Blue Moment