Mike Westbrook plays favourite tracks on the Saturday October 9th edition of BBC Radio 3’s Jazz programme, J to Z. Mike talks to producer Thomas Rees and introduces music by Ellington, Mingus, Stravinsky and Getz.
Was broadcast on Saturday October 9th at 5pm on BBC Radio 3
thereafter available on Listen Again at the BBC website.
Mike's contribution starts at around 57.16
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The WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show has moved here
01 October 2021
At The Copa
No. 56
Remembering John and Margery Styles, founder members of Smith’s Academy.
Hotel Amigo is a hotel where once the Brass Band stopped for an overnight en route from Gothenberg to Stockholm. Just off the motorway, but in the middle of nowhere it was surprisingly crowded. Evidently it was the one place in the region where the population from miles around would gather on a Saturday night. The atmosphere was wild and raucous, more like one of the more riotous Wild West saloon bars than cool Scandinavia.
In the mayhem of the ballroom Los Amigos were pumping out the pop hits of the day. Kate and I speculated about the lives of the musicians. We pictured them in the band room in the intermission, shedding their Brazilian clobber, dreaming a bit, perhaps playing their own music, improvising. The fantasy of the backstage world contrasted with the commercial reality of the ballroom.
This was the simple theme of the show that we wrote, -musicians playing freely in the dressing room, then donning their show-biz gear to confront the public, with the likes of Copacabana (ironically one of the Devil’s better tunes). With the Amigos at their Latin best, their two worlds collide when the legendary tenor saxophone star ‘El Gato’ sits in, uninvited, and steals the show.
Every song in this round up of the Moving Picture Show, a fairly random selection, tells its own story. There are musical and geographical travels, stories of the lives of musicians, and of bands of every shape and size. And of an endless variety of hotels, one of the more memorable being Hotel Amigo.
We hope you have enjoyed the Moving Picture Show over the past months and that this selection (necessarily incomplete) includes some of your favourites.
Mike Westbrook
Los Amigos
'El Gato with Los Amigos
The WestbrookJazz Moving Picture Show No 75
Toynbee Hall London December 2008
words by William Blake arranged by Adrian Mitchell
music by Mike Westbrook
Phil Minton Kate Westbrook Karen Street
Billy Thompson Steve Berry Mike Westbrook
London College of Music Chamber Choir
directed by Paul Ayres

from the album Glad Day Live
recorded and filmed by Jon Hiseman and Mike Dibb
Teatro Golden Palermo November Palermo
November 2018
music by Mike Westbrook from Citadel/Room 315
soloist Roz Harding
Roz Harding  Pete Whyman  Sarah Dean  Alan Wakeman  Ian Wellens
Graham Russell  Stuart Brooks  Dick Pearce
Dave Holdsworth
Joe Carnell  Sam Chamberlain-Keen  Stewart Stunell  Ashley Nayler
Billie Bottle  Jesse Molins   Matthew North   Marcus Vergette
Coach York   Mike Westbrook

filmed and recorded by Matthew North
from Earth Felt The Wound
Halle Germany April 2019
words by Kate Westbrook
music by Mike Westbrook
Kate Westbrook Roz Harding Billie Bottle
Jesse Molins Matthew North Mike Westbrook
Coach York
sound recording by Jay Auborn

filmed by Matthew North
from the album Earth Felt The Wound 2020
words by Kate Westbrook
music by Mike Westbrook
album produced by Jay Auborn
artwork by Kate Westbrook

film produced by Westbrook/Topley
Rossini Festival, Teatro Rossini, Pesaro 2018
music Gioachino Rossini ‘La Cenerentola’
words Jacopo Ferretti
Kate Westbrook voice
Billie Bottle piano

filmed and recorded by Matthew North
Tellspielhaus Altdorf Switzerland July 2003
song by Kate and Mike Westbrook
Kate Westbrook “Reuss”
Claudio Danuser “J.M.W.Turner”
Chris Biscoe soloist
Barbara Thompson Tim Harries
Jon Hiseman Mike Westbrook
Brass Band Uri directed by Hans Burkhalter
choir Schola Uriensis directed by Renaldo Battaglia

filmed and recorded by Swiss TV
sound mixed by Jon Hiseman
from Hotel Amigo
TV South West 1983
music/lyrics by Barry Manilow, Jack Felder, Bruce Sussman
arranged by Mike Westbrook
Los Amigos
Pépé trumpet
Juanita horn
Rudi tuba
El Burro alto sax
Toni drums
with guest
El Gato tenor sax
Hotel Manager Paul Copley

filmed and recorded by TV South West 1983
directed by Derek Fairhead
19 rue Paul Fort Paris 2016
song from Paintbox Jane
by Kate and Mike Westbrook
from the album PARIS
Mike Westbrook piano
filmed and recorded by Jon Hiseman
Barnfield Theatre Exeter 2015
from A Bigger Show
by Mike and Kate Westbrook
soloist Alan Wakeman
Roz Harding   Sarah Dean   Gary Bayley   Alan Wakeman   Ian Wellens
Mike Brewer   Sam Massey   Dave Holdsworth
Joe Carnell   Andy Dore   Stewart Stunell   Ken Cassidy
Billie Bottle   Jesse Molins   Matthew North   Marcus Vergette
Coach York   Theo Goss    Mike Westbrook
sound recording by Jon Hiseman
filmed by Stan Willis
Stadtgarten, Köln 1995
music and lyrics by Billy Strayhorn
Westbrook Trio
Kate Westbrook
Chris Biscoe
Mike Westbrook

TV film and recording by WDR
Teatro Golden, Palermo 2018
music Mike Westbrook ‘Citadel/Room 315
soloists Dick Pearce, Pete Whyman
Roz Harding   Pete Whyman   Sarah Dean   Alan Wakeman   Ian Wellens
Graham Russell  Stuart Brooks  Dick Pearce  Dave Holdsworth
Joe Carnell  Sam Chamberlain-Keen  Stewart Stunell  Ashley Nayler
Billie Bottle  Jesse Molins  Matthew North  Marcus Vergette
Coach York  Mike Westbrook

filmed and recorded by Matthew North
JazzFestival Leverkusen 1991
Mean Mr Mustard
Polythene Pam
She came in through the Bathroom Window
Golden Slumbers
Carry That Weight
The End

Mike Westbrook Band
Phil Minton
Kate Westbrook
Brian Godding
Mike Westbrook
Andy Grappy
Pete Fairclough
Pete Whyman
Alan Wakeman

TV film and recording by WDR
London 1989
Westbrook Brass Band
Phil Minton
Kate Westbrook
Chris Biscoe
Alan Wakeman
‘Butch’ Potter
Mike Westbrook
Dave Barry

filmed and recorded by ThamesTV
series created, visualised and produced by
Mike Westbrook Kate Westbrook Chris Topley

All 75 Moving Picture Shows may be viewed in full
music, poetry and performance on film
a BFI release on double DVD

"In the later decades of the 20th century, independent film makers pushed at the creative boundaries of documentary work thanks to Arts Council funding, generating an eruption of diverse, dynamic, cutting edge films that still stimulate the intellect and inflame the senses.

From the streets of Brixton and Manchester to leafy suburbs, junk yards, punk venues and community centres, this curated selection celebrates and showcases an eclectic trove of music, poetry and spoken word performance in a collection of film and video works made between 1978 and 1996, and rarely seen since.” (BFI sleeve note)

This collection of thirteen films includes Charles Mapleston’s 1978 documentary Music In Progress: Mike Westbrook - Jazz Composer,  featuring the Mike Westbrook Brass Band: Phil Minton, Kate Westbrook, Paul Rutherford, Dave Chambers and Trevor Tomkins.

Full information and purchase details

"The most charming discovery here is Charles Mapleston’s 1978 film about Mike Westbrook, following his eccentric big band as they bring their curious jazz compendium of William Blake, Bertolt Brecht and Billie Holiday to shopping centres and concert halls across Europe. Like Robert Wyatt or John Peel, Westbrook and his band feel like one of those uncanny confluences of postwar English culture, bringing together pop, prog, avant-garde, folk and jazz in way that feels uniquely, beautifully of its time and place."
10 October 2021
Great Noises That Fill The Air
No. 57
Stephen Troussé UNCUT magazine
Mike Westbrook Brass band
Mike Westbrook Brass Band

19 October 2021
Kate & Mike Westbrook on the Air
No. 58
BBC J to Z
Jamie Harber from Jazz South catches up with legendary jazz pianist, composer and band leader, Mike Westbrook OBE, for an extended interview in celebration of his 85th birthday.
Mike also curated a special Duke Ellington playlist for Jazz South. The playlist is linked in the interview where you can find out about the tracks and why Mike has chosen them.

Catching up with Mike Westbrook

Jazz South Logo

Listen to Kate Westbrook and The Granite Band’s Says The Duke in full here – a new piece commissioned by Jazz South.

Subscribe to the series on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or find your favourite podcast platform here.


Jazz South Spotlight on Kate Westbrook & The Granite Band
25 October 2021
No. 59
Alan Barnes
Alan Barnes
The Blue Vanguard
St Matthew’sHall
Topsham Devon
October 14 2021
Craig Milverton keyboard Al Swainger bass Coach York drums
Alan Barnes, clarinettist and saxophonist, is one of that special breed of Modern Jazz Troubadours, musical evangelists taking their message to jazz-loving communities scattered throughout the land. Their mission is not only to make new converts to jazz, but to keep the flame alive in the hearts of the faithful.
With recorded music now available in so many convenient formats, it is important to be reminded that nothing can beat the experience of playing and listening to jazz live. Alan, like the late Peter King, is one of those dedicated jazz musicians who trek from one one-night-stand to the next, travelling light with just their instruments, their history, their skills and their imaginations.
A horn player working with a local rhythm section, having little or no rehearsal, relies on a common repertoire of standard tunes. These gigs are not the place for the sort of innovations of form and style that can be achieved by a regular working group. The age-old format of ‘opening theme-solos-closing theme’ can become predictable and formulaic. As a composer I have tended to avoid this classic form, but for the solo improviser it still serves pretty well. The onus is on each musician to come up with the goods.
At Topsham, Alan presented a generous selection of material, seized upon avidly by the Trio. He played a number of his own compositions, dishing out the parts from a pile of manuscript on the floor. These were interspersed with well-chosen standards. Charlie Parker’s ‘Steeplechase’, and Art Pepper’s ‘Straight Life’ gave vent to Alan’s supercharged Bebop playing. He doesn’t always play by the rules. He has succeeded in beating his own path over this well trodden ground. You don’t hear those stylistic mannerisms formulated by the followers of Charlie Parker, or any of those modish Blue Note licks. His playing is a stream of melodic invention,- risks, jokes and daring liberties taken with the beat. We treasure the memory of him sparring with Peter King on ‘Toad’s Washerwoman’ •• on Kate’s ‘Cuff Clout’ album.
Mostly on alto, Alan also treated us to some baritone, notably on a little known Ellington ballad, ‘Tonight I’ll sleep with a smile on my face’, a deeply felt performance in a direct line from Harry Carney.
The clarinet is not heard too often these days in a Modern Jazz context. Integral to New Orleans Jazz from the very beginning, always a key element in the Ellington Orchestra and strongly featured in the Swing era, the clarinet has been rather sidelined by the saxophone in contemporary jazz. Fortunately there are exceptions, and Alan Barnes is a leading exponent. Memorably he once toured with us in Europe with Westbrook/Rossini, playing and leading the band on clarinet. At Topsham it was good to be reminded of the expressive range and beauty of his clarinet.
Alan has stayed faithful to his first instrument, and to his roots. Somehow the history of jazz clarinet was embodied in his duo performance of ’Sweet Lorraine’, accompanied by some fine stride piano. Craig is a master of jazz styles and a prodigious improviser. He was ready to follow wherever Alan led, and his solos contained passages of blinding virtuosity.
The Vanguard Trio is one of the most experienced and accomplished units around. Their love of playing and their dedication has kept them together over the years and earned them a loyal following. Al, cool and impressive on the bass, shows great taste and technique and is always ready for the next musical challenge. Coach too was very much on-form throughout the gig and outstanding in his extended feature, ’Caravan’. Back on the scene he evidently means business. Currently he is firing up Kate’s Granite Band. Introducing ‘Caravan’ Alan conjured up the image, not of a camel train in the mystic East, but of a holiday in a Caravan park in, I think he said, South Wales.
If all else fails Alan could no doubt re-invent himself as a stand-up. His down-to-earth approach and his irreverent repartee is a welcome antidote to the hype that bedevils our contemporary culture, even in the jazz world. He knows that serious Art and jokes are sides of the same coin. A flip announcement that has you rolling in the aisles might be followed by music that surprise and disturbs, or by a solo that moves you to tears.
Kate and I first got to know Alan in the late 1970s when he did a tour with the Brass Band in Scandinavia. In those days he played a mean soprano sax, as well as the alto. He has built a successful international career, playing with many well-known artists, composing, and making dozens of albums. We had odd gigs together over the years, then in the 90s Alan became a regular member of the Orchestra which was enjoying one of its most successful times, touring in Europe and some big festivals. In Big Band Rossini Alan’s feature was ‘Factotum all Bebop’ based on Rossini’s ‘Largo al Factotum’, a solo full of bop exuberance.••••  Subsequently I had the chance to bring him and Chris Biscoe together in ‘Measure For Measure’, a break-through composition that we recorded at the Crawley Festival. •••
Playing Rossini at the Proms was one of many highlights of that period, but the highest point was the three-day festival of our music in Catania, Sicily. Among many glorious and touching memories is Alan’s soulful playing on ‘View from the Drawbridge’, a rare combination of musical artistry and searing emotion that ranks alongside other fine interpretations of the piece by Jan Allan, John Surman and Chris Biscoe. Miraculously some tapes of the Sicilian festival recently came to light and there is now an album, ‘Catania’. ••••
At Topsham Alan showed that he has lost nothing of the special ability to get to the heart of a song. Commitment to the jazz life of the strolling player, has only extended and deepened his playing. He’s one of the greats, a giant. Alan Barnes would no doubt laugh off any such claim, maintaining that he’s just a musician doing his gig. But its not a gig for the faint hearted. It demands total dedication, the courage to carry the ‘good noise’ far and wide, the ability to inspire fellow musicians and to engage with and entertain the public. And on the evidence of The Blue Vanguard, to play some very fine Jazz indeed.
Mike Westbrook
Kate Westbrook and The Skirmishers: Cuff Clout, a neoteric Music-Hall voiceprint 2004

•• Toad’s Washerwoman westbrook jazz moving picture show No 70

••• Mike Westbrook The Orchestra of Smith’s Academy

•••• Mike Westbrook Orchestra: Catania westbrook records 2019

https://www.alanbarnesjazz.com/  Alan's website

http://www.woodvillerecords.com/ Alan's record Label

https://bluevanguard.co.uk/  Exeter's premier jazz club
Alan Barnes

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