December 2022 Posts Page >>>
January 2023 Posts
WestbrookJazz Notice Board
If the page is showing
incorrectly you may need to press
Control+R, Command+R or Control+F5
December 2022 Posts Page >>>
The WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show has moved here
Remembering John and Margery Styles, founder members of Smith’s Academy.
18 January 2023
LUX - ORCHESTER
In the Summer of 2000 Kate Westbrook was featured soloist with the LUX-ORCHESTER in Heribert Leuchter’s composition KlangWeltReligion. Fifteen performances were given at the Hannover international trade fair EXPO 2000, between June and October. Concerts took place in the Christus Pavillon, an innovative steel, marble and glass multi-faith space in the middle of the Expo site. Later there was a performance in Aachen Cathedral. The Christus Pavillon was relocated in Volkenroda, Thüringia.
Lux - Orchester Aachen November 2022
In November 2022 material from KlangWeltReligion was revived in two concerts at the Opera House in Aachen. Kate, Heribert and the Lux-Orchester were re-united in a celebration of the Orchester’s 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion KlangWeltReligion the album, which was recorded live at the Christus Pavillon in October 2000, has been released by Luxaries Records. (Available from Westbrook Records)
To describe the background to this remarkable recording we reprint the article by Mike Westbrook that originally appeared in the Smith’s Academy Informer in September 2000.
AT THE EXPO
This summer Kate Wetbrook is featured soloist with the Lux Orchester in fifteen performances of Heribert Leuchter's new composition KLANGWELTRELIGION, in the Christus Pavillion at the Expo 2000, Hannover. With six performances already given, and a further nine to go, Mike Westbrook offers some observations on this unique project.
Superficially the Hannover Expo 2000 is like any largescale modem city centre: spacious plazas linked by a grid of broad, treelined boulevards, flanked by blocks of steel, glass and concrete. Look closer, however, and you see that there are no ordinary shops, just endless exhibition halls, and an abnormal number of fast food stalls. There are wheelchairs and little foot scooters, but mostly hordes of strangely uniform pedestrians, ceaselessly on the move. There are no cars. There are no dogs; no birds, not even pigeons, sparrows or starlings; no insects.
It's rather like some epic Hollywood set for a film about the end of the world. Though in fact substantially built, these buildings are only temporary. They have no history, and no future. Even the avenues of trees are like stage props. They didn't grow here; they were transported fully mature. Most nations on Earth have exhibits here - a notable exception being the United States (though there must be at least fifty McDonalds outlets throughout the Expo site). They range from the solo 'pavillons' of the rich countries to the more modest, shared units of the Third World. Some of the pavilions are merely grandiose - rhetorical space-age stuff filled with blinking video installations and dull technology. But, in quite a few of them, architects and designers have grasped the theatricality and impermanence of the situation with imagination and humour. Estonia's roof of swaying fir trees, the United Arab Emirates red desert fort surrounded by palm trees and speciaiiy imported Sahara sand (the camels got homesick and had to be sent back), the moat around the Swedish pavilion with its choreographed belly-flopping sculptures - how ofien does a building make you laugh out loud? The poorer nations don't have time for such architectural fun and games. Here the emphasis is on traditionai culture rather than innovation - all glittering bazaars, dedicated to the serious business of tourism.
ln the middle of the 'global market place' stands the Christus Pavillon. This is basically a prefabricated cathedral, in state-of-the-art materials. At the end of the Expo it will be taken apart and re-erected on another site. The church, or 'sacred room', is a large square box, the walls of which are made of glass, coated with thin marble, giving a soft, luminous quality at all times of the day. The roof is supported by nine elegant steel pillars. The only other fixture is a plate glass altar screen behind which, on a steel cross, is mounied an 11th century wooden sculpture of the crucified Christ. This is the sacred room's only concession to historical Christian art, and potent and moving it is. Here a short hourly service is held through the day. Weekend services alternate between Protestant and Catholic.
Every evening throughout the five-month run of the Expo Christus Pavillon there is an event, free to the public. A wide ranging programme of contemporary music and theatre from different countries is presented. Some of it, like KLANGWELTRELIGION, has been specially commissioned. Each day ends with a short sound/light performance in which a light show on the church floor is triggered by a musical source, e.g. a solo improvisation.
Outside is a courtyard with a small cafe, tables and chairs, where informal performances of all kinds take place during the afternoon. The whole rectangular site of the Pavilion is enclosed within a cloister, The walls of the cloister consist of large square double-glazed panels, Each panel is filled, not with stained glass, but with myriad small objects, natural or man-made. One panel may be filled with poppy seed cases, another with wood shavings. Others may contain hundreds of plastic toothbrushes, light bulbs, cassette cases or tea strainers. The effect is magical.
Austere and uncompromising in its design, the Christus Pavillion must surely be one of the most successful pieces of contemporary Christian architecture, in creating a spiritual space for the modern world.
Heribert Leuchter, composer/saxophonist, was presented with the challenge of writing a piece for the Christus Pavillon, to be sustained over 15 performances, spread in groups of three over the period June-October. His KLANGWELTRELIGION is a 75-minute meditation on man's spiritual search. Musically it consists of a sequence of themes, all of which bear the composers distinctive melodic stamp, including several glorious ballads. These are linked by passages of improvisation. Each theme is associated with a specific text - the texts, sacred or secular, being drawn from different cultures and eras. All are performed in German, or in German translation, with two of them also in English.
Working from the same outline as the instrumentalists, Kate is largely responsible for the way in which the texts are delivered, whether sung ot spoken, set or improvised. Kate tackles the enormously diverse lyrics unflinchingly, with characteristic candour and lack of artifice. From her opening incantation Hymnus (from the time of Ramses IX) to the lyrical Neigung zur Liebe (Rabiah Al-Adawiyya), from the extrovert Obersfe Erkenntnis (Bhagavad-Gita) to the almost unbearably poignant Requiescat (Oscar Wilde), from the delightful, throw-away Doch ich weiß to the solemn Mysterium (both by Rose Ausländer) Kate fashions a meaningful scenario for this spiritual journey.
The music meanwhile is a rich tapestry of broad unison themes, pristine solos and dense textural improvisation. lt is full of all kinds of musical references and fortuitous juxtapositions - a moment of bottleneck guitar, incisive tablas against Hammond organ drone, a duet for drums and musical saw, and many more.
There is little written arrangement - something that forces the musicians to listen to each other and be aware of their place in the collective sound, rather than relying on a prearranged script. lf this leads at times to indecision, this must be taken as an integral part of the creative process. Much of KLANGWELTRELIGION has a quality of being 'on the edge'. lt would be easy for this music to move to a more formalised state. However, Heribert has deliberately denied himself the possibility of a definitive performance by the device of changing the instrumentation and personnel of the 9/10-piece band for each group of concerts retaining only himself, Kate, guitarist Jürgen Sturm and drummer Stefan Kremer. The other players come and go in different patterns. Tabla player Arup Sen Gupta for example ptayed the Aachen preview and the first two Expo series. Violinist Albrecht Maurer played Aachen and the second Expo concerts. Hammond organist Gero Körner was replaced by accordionist Manfred Leuchter for the second Expo series. Trumpeters Christoph Titz and Karl Farrent have so far alternated, as have bass guitrrists Stefan Rademacher and Lothar Galle-Merkel. Belgian musicians Marc Godfroid (trombone) and Kurt van Herk (tenor sax) have so far only played the first Expo concerts. Some of these players are due to reappear at certain points, and others are yet to be introduced.
Scheduling this game of musical chairs is an integral part of the composing process - as important as selecting the texts and providing the musical framework. This method ensures that the piece will never become too comfortable or predictable. By the third concert of each visit, when the musicians have become confident in their roles, and when each new group has come to terms with the space's tricky acoustics, Heribert, as generous and outwardly laissez faire a bandleader as you could wish for, still pulls the rug from under everyone's feet. He won't produce a neat package that way, but it's a fascinating and revelatory process
Kate Westbrook voice Heribert Leuchter saxophone
Karl Farrent trumpet Christoph Titz trumpet Kurk van Herck saxophone
Marc Godfroid trombone Manfred Leuchter accordion
Gero Körner hammond organ Jürgen Sturm guitar
Arup Sen Gupta tablas Stefan Kremer drums Lothar Galle Merkel bass
music composed and directed by Heribert Leuchter
Egyptian from the time of Ramses 1X
Paul Celan Rabiah Al-Adawiyya Bhavagad Gita
Oscar Wilde Rose Ausländer Suleman Taufiq
texts selected, arranged and translated by
Heribert Leuchter and KateWestbrook
commissioned by Jan Hellwig artistic director of the Christus Pavillon
recorded live at Christus Pavillon Expo 2000 Hannover October 26/27 2000
engineer Jürgen Müller
the album on Luxaries Records LUXMM25
available on CD only from westbrook records
information about the Christus Pavillon
18 January 2023
CHRIS BISCOE PLAYS
Jazz Café POSK,
13 January 2023
Chris Biscoe (saxes)
Kate Williams (piano)
Mike Outram (guitar)
Dave Whitford (bass)
Jon Scott (drums)
Like Harry Carney with Duke Ellington, Chris Biscoe has played and travelled with Mike Westbrook for over four decades. He knows the music from the inside and is uniquely placed to lead his band in a performance comprising exclusively Westbrook material. Designed to launch Chris’s new CD of Mike’s compositions MUSIC IS, the gig drew heavily on it while allowing several significant variations and flexibility to suit a live context.
The venue was perfect: an intimate space, comfortable for musicians and audience alike, a crystal-clear PA system (and a team who knew how to drive it!), good lighting, and a friendly, welcoming vibe.
Chris has said the idea behind the CD was simply to take some Westbrook tunes out of their original context and play them with a small jazz group as you might an Ellington, Monk or Gershwin song. However, it proved to be much more than this. The evening featured material from all eras of the Westbrook/Biscoe partnership. Sometimes Biscoe took a fragment from a bigger piece and used this as a jumping off point for the band to develop, such as one section from the evocative View from the Drawbridge (CITADEL/ROOM 315) or a counter-melody, originally lurking under complex orchestral gestures, in L’Enfance (THE CORTÈGE).
The members of the quintet were deployed imaginatively with different combinations: as well as the full quintet we were treated to, duets and trios as well as unaccompanied solos. Chris, as always, impressed on all his instruments, coaxing an incredible array of tone colours and prolific, melodic invention. The opening tune, Music Is (from ON DUKE’S BIRTHDAY) featured a thoughtful and imaginative drum solo from Jon Scott. - that’s right, a drum solo on the opening number! Kate Williams improvised an elaborate, sparkling prelude to L’Enfance. But when the whole band played, driven by the tight, crisp, powerhouse bass and drums team of Dave Whitford and Jon Scott, they really generated some heat, such as in Goin’ to Chicago (MAMA CHICAGO), or the conclusion of July ’79 (THE CORTÈGE) where Mike Outram blew the roof off while remaining thoroughly musical and without resorting to noise-making.
The music was well received by an enthusiastic crowd, which included the composer, Mike Westbrook, who took a bow and was clearly impressed by this fresh and imaginative take on his music. Let’s hope this band gets more opportunities to play this inventive and uplifting music. Meanwhile, enjoy their studio CD recording.
Chris’s album MUSIC IS is on Trio Records
and is available from his website
or as a download from Bandcamp
<<< February 2023 Posts Page
<<< February 2023 Posts Page