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Remembering John and Margery Styles, founder members of Smith’s Academy.
More films on our September 2020 Posts Page >>>

02 October 2020
The WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show #29
No. 66
Vocalist extraordinaire John Winfield as the eponymous heroine in Kate and Mike's Bebop version of Mister Toad’s escape from jail (see The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame). Featuring alto sax giants Alan Barnes and Peter King.
From the album CUFF CLOUT
The only time I worked with Pete King was in 2001, recording the song Toad’s Washerwoman on Kate’s album Cuff Clout. We met occasionally over the years, and Kate and I took any opportunity to hear him play. With his passing jazz has lost one of its most stylish improvisers. I never heard him play a run-of-the-mill solo.
With Kate’s text for Toad’s Washerwoman, I imagined our heroine as a Bebop Diva, something in the style of Annie Ross. The role was sung, or rather scatted, by John Winfield who sometimes wore the authentic costume in live performance.
Cuff Clout was an unusual album not only for the texts that Kate wrote for what she called her Neoteric Music Hall. These texts were set by eight different composers: Lindsay Cooper, Jenni Roditi, Errollyn Wallen, Chris Biscoe, James McMillan, Eleanor Alberga, Barbara Thompson and me. Moreover, each track was recorded by a different group. In all, twenty two musicians took part in the recording, including five different drummers.
For Toad I was fortunate to get together an all-star quartet, with the late Mike Carr on Hammond organ, Steve Brown on drums and on alto saxophones Alan Barnes and Peter King. Never having composed in the idiom before, I wrote for the two altos just about every Bebop lick I could think of.
Like all true jazz musicians, the Quartet seized on the music with total commitment,- no hesitation, no holding back, everything was first take. Pete and Alan showed instant rapport in the ensemble. Their solos and the exchanges of fours, inspired by friendly rivalry, pointed up the contrast between these two highly individual musical personalities. Their exchanges were a joy, spiced up with wicked Bebop humour. Mike Carr on Hammond swung mightily as to the manner born, and Steve Brown showed why he is mainstream jazz’s favourite drummer.
We recorded the Quartet first. John’s vocal and Kate’s backing vocals were added later. While everyone took a break Jon Hiseman left the track running in the control room. Pete and I stayed on to listen, savouring the moment. Not a word was spoken, but there were smiles on our faces.
Mike Westbrook

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09 October 2020
The WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show #30
No. 67
Westbrook & Company live in Poznan 1999
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16 October 2020
No. 68
The WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show #31
The Uncommon Orchestra live in Palermo, November 2018
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23 October 2020
The WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show #32
No. 69
Toynbee Hall  London  2008

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Kate & Mike Westbrook
Kate and Mike Westbrook