What does it sound like?:
Recorded during a short tour of the West Country in January 1972 with, apparently yet unbelievably, one microphone at the back of the halls, this album is a thrilling document in a moment in British jazz – from the end of a five or six year period in which seemingly anything could happen in and around jazz, however progressive, and major labels would take a chance and throw a recording budget at it.
Mike Westbrook, leading a sextet from the early 60s and having struggled through the ‘R&B years’ middle of the decade like everyone else in British jazz, became known in the late 60s as the leader of a progressive big band, doffing its cap at Duke Ellington while simultaneously finding room for all sorts of avant-garde-isms and multi-media happenings.
His Decca-recorded big band works ‘Celebration’, ‘Release’ and ‘Marching Song’ of 1968-69 were followed by the jazz-pop-ish small-group ‘Love Songs’ (1970), featuring singer Norma Winstone and a guitar for the first time in the line-up (Chris Spedding). What Mike regards as the last ‘big’ work of this period, ‘Metropolis’, was recorded for RCA in 1971 – a large band plus future Isotope guitar » Continue Reading.