PREVIEW: Celebrating Mike Westbrook's 80th (A Bigger Show at Kings Place, Fri 20th May)

A BIGGER SHOW The Uncommon Orchestra. Photo credit: Matthew North


Sebastian writes:

Here are extracts (*) from Jon Turney's extremely vivid review of a recent performance of the Westbrooks' "A Bigger Show" in Bristol.

These remarks certainly whet the appetite for the London premiere of this work in Kings Place Hall One on May 20th. (+). The show is a fitting belated celebration of Mike Westbrook's eightieth birthday, which was on March 21st this year:

"A spectacular show it is [...] Each [song] is a launch pad for long, punchy big band scores, rich in Mike Westbrook’s resourceful writing for massed horns. Add a string bass alongside the electric instrument, two electric guitars, who feature more strongly in the second half, and two drummers, and the result is, simply, epic….Hard to believe this majestic ensemble is playing for 100-odd people crammed into the upstairs room of this capacious pub. […]

Some of the best comes from longtime Westbrook cohorts. Dave Holdsworth (who appeared all those years ago on Marching Song) plays implausibly light-footed sousaphone, and plangent pocket trumpet. And Alan Wakeman contributes world class tenor and soprano saxophone.

But it is the band sound that stays in the ear after the gig. A roaring ensemble, orchestrated by a master of the art…... new work from one of English music’s most creative forces of the last half century!" 


A Bigger Show at Kings Place is produced by Peter Conway Management. Future dates scheduled are St Ives Jazz Club on May 31st, and The Plough, Torrington, Devon on June 10th

 LINKS: (*) Jon Turney's full original review
CD Review by Patrick Hadfield
Richard Williams' extended album review


(+) Kings Place Bookings for May 20th

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