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London Bridge Is Broken Down

Artist: Mike Westbrook

Date of Release: 03/03/2008

Catalogue no: BGOCD788

Label: BGO

Price: £13.99

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

London Bridge

2

 

Wenceslas Square

3

 

Berlin Wall
Nähe des Geliebten

4

 

B.V.B.W (Belle-Vue Berlin Wall)
Traurig, aber falsch

5

 

Berlin Wall (cont.)
Ein Vogel

6

 

Vienna
Viennese Waltz

7

 

Für Sie

8

 

Picardie
Blighters

9

 

Les morts

10

 

Picardie Three

11

 

Picardie Four

12

 

Une fenêtre

13

 

Picardie Six

14

 

Aucassin et Nicolette

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

Chris Biscoe, Kate Westbrook

Sound samples on the Westbrookjazz website.

KATE WESTBROOK voice, tenor horn

MIKE WESTBROOK piano

ALEXANDRE MYRAT conductor

THE MIKE WESTBROOK ORCHESTRA
Chris Biscoe alto, soprano & baritone saxophones, alto clarinet
Graham Russell trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet
Peter Whyman alto & soprano saxophones, clarinet
Paul Nieman trombone, electronics
Brian Godding guitar
Tony Marsh drums
Steve Cook bass guitar

LE SINFONIETTA DE PICARDIE
leader Constantin Bobesco

Now remastered and released as a double CD by BGO Records.

London Bridge Is Broken Down was commisioned by 'Le Temps du Jazz' (Festival International de Jazz d'Amiens) and premiered at La Maison de la Culture, Amiens on 26 May 1987. It was performed again on September 22nd at the MUSICA 87 festival in Strasbourg. The album was recorded for Virgin/Venture, produced by Fiachra Trench, at Studio Pathe Marconi EMI, Paris 7th - 10th December 1987 and released in 1988.

In 1990 the piece was performed with the Docklands Sinfonietta conducted by Rupert Bond, in London on 9th November at St. Anne's Church, Limehouse in the Docklands Jazz Festival, and in Zurich on 10th November at the Zurich Jazz Festival.

 

Reviews

 

11/07/2008 Ray Comiskey - Irish Times

This digitally remastered double reissues Mike Westbrook's great musical journey through the insanity of 20th-century European history. The section titles - London Bridge , Wenceslas Square, Berlin Wall , Vienna and, above all, Picardie - resonate with that history.

So does the music, which, though rooted in the allegorical
particularity of the German, French and English texts used, also resists facile suggestiveness; the general resides in the individual and colours even the purely instrumental episodes.

And Westbrook's integration of his jazz nonet with the 22-piece Le Sinfonietta de Picardie, of improv with scored, and his range and control of orchestral colour, are breathtaking.

The music's sublime tumult is by turns mocking, ironic, sardonic, satirical, gentle, romantic, melancholic, triumphant, superbly played and very moving. And, in transcending both jazz and classical influences, it's beyond category.

 

01/06/2008 Chris Parker - The Vortex

Reissued, digitally remastered, this 'Composition for Voice, Jazz Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra' is discussed in detail by its creators, Mike and Kate Westbrook, in an interview on the Vortex Website; suffice it to say here that, after twenty years, it still moves, exhilarates and provokes thought as profoundly as it did on its first appearance in a then divided, turbulent Europe, a continent whose internal quarrelling is now mercifully restricted mainly to spats about the fine details of abstruse EU treaties. From its first extraordinary, uniquely arresting, orchestral shrieks and sighs, through its haunting meditations on loss, division and compassion, to its closing irreverent celebration of the power of human love, London Bridge grips the listener like few other pieces. This power is attributable not only to the compositional skills of Mike Westbrook and the judicious selection of appropriate texts by Kate Westbrook, but also to the individual prowess of the jazz bandmembers: saxophonist/clarinettist Chris Biscoe (pungent and viscerally affecting throughout), Peter Whyman (eloquent and agile on all his reeds), Paul Nieman (equally adept at providing trombone and electronic commentaries), multi-textured guitarist Brian Godding, subtly sensitive but propulsive drummer Tony Marsh, unobtrusive but firm anchorman bassist Steve Cook, and brilliant trumpeter Graham Russell. The deployment of the 21-piece Sinfonietta de Picardie, too, is exemplary, and with Kate Westbrook characteristically dramatic – tender and touching one moment, abrasively brash and scornful the next, but always utterly appropriate – this is (to quote my 1988 self) 'a major work which operates on many levels, incorporating a stunning variety of textures and moods into a deeply satisfying dramatic whole'.

 

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