Mike Westbrook

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London’s experimental jazz scene was given an unexpected boost in the mid-1960s, when the famed jazz club established at Soho’s Gerrard Street by trumpeter Ronnie Scott was served with an 18-month notice; before moving to Frith Street, Scott allowed the unfettered expressions of free jazz to be let loose, transforming the club’s regular playlists. Inspired by the excesses of the Brotherhood of Breath, the free jazz big-band ensemble led by South African pianist, Chris McGregor, British jazz pianist Mike Westbrook began leading a big-band of his own, their Monday night jam sessions leading to a range of material, issued on a series of sublime LPs by Decca sub-label, Deram Records. Highlights of this 1968 LP include Mike Osborne’s alto sax solo, linking Forever And A Day’ and ‘Loverman,’ and contrasted elsewhere by fellow alto soloist, Bernie Living. Trombonists Paul Rutherford and Malcolm Griffiths blow mean solos of their own and there is wonderful bass underpinning from Brotherhood of Breath member Harry Miller; baritone saxophonist John Surman was just coming into his element and the solid drumming of Alan Jackson works up a fine musical rapport with trumpeter Dave Holdsworth. With the exception of some one-off adaptations, such as ‘Girl From Ipanema’ and Benny Goodman’s ‘Flying Home,’ everything else is a Westbrook original, delivered with passion by the band.

Tracklisting
  1. The Few (I)
  2. Forever And A Day
  3. Lover Man
  4. We Salute You
  5. The Few (II)
  6.  Folk Song (I)
  7. Flying Home (Bridge ‘Opus One’)
  8. Sugar
  9. A Life Of Its Own
  10. Take Me Back (I)
  11. Rosie
  12. Who’s Who
  13. Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You
  14. Can’t Get It Out Of My Mind
  15. The Girl From Ipanema
  16. Folk Song (II)
  17. Take Me Back (II)