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Mike Westbrook

Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2

Label: Cherry Red

Format: 3 Cd box

Genre: Jazz

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The brilliant third album from Mike Westbrook – a sharp-edged, two volume set with a scathing anti-war theme! The work is Westbrook's first total-concept album, and it's still one of his best – written with an edge that's free from some of the more whimsical touches that showed up in Mike's later years, and played by a core group of British avant soloists with searing intensity! You've never heard large group scoring like this – bold, ambitious, and quite different than most of what's come before. And although the whole thing sounds as if it's going to fall apart at any moment, it always snaps back into a sharp focus just in the nick of time – with brilliant results that bring the same sense of surprise that you might get from, say, a classic album from Charles Mingus or Archie Shepp! Players include Kenny Wheeler and Henry Lowther on trumpets, Mike Gibbs and Paul Rutherford on trombones, John Surman on baritone and soprano sax, Mike Osborne on alto and clarinet, Alan Skidmore on tenor and flute, Brian Smith on tenor, and Harry Miller and Barre Phillips on bass. This set features both volumes of the recording. (Dustygroove)

Following the successful release on RPM of the Turtle Records box set in 2016, chronicling producer Peter Eden’s early 1970’s modern jazz label, we’re pleased to announce a new series of modern jazz releases on the relaunched Turtle Records label.

We begin with one of the most highly respected and collectable modern jazz figures today; composer, musician and band-leader Mike Westbrook. A pioneer of British Jazz since the early 1960s and still creating today.

Our first release is a box set of Mike’s 1969 work Marching Song . Underlining his collectable status, the original Deram LP of Marching Song is currently worth around £80. Ironically, the only previous CD reissue is just as expensive!

Marching Song began as a one-off nine minute composition for a shelved album, recorded by Mike with a Sextet in 1966, previously unissued, it is included here as a bonus track on Disc 3. An expanded 15 piece Concert Band performance of the composition, by then developed into a 2 hour anti-war epic, first took place in 1967 at Plymouth’s Athenaeum. The full piece was finally recorded in early 1969 and released by Decca Records in the UK on their Deram imprint on two separate single LP volumes. In 1970 the LPs were combined for a 2LP release in the US.

The recordings were produced by Peter Eden, then in the prime of his modern jazz producing tenure with Deram, capturing the cream of the British Jazz scene which had steadily risen from the mid 1960’s onwards. This box set also features on Disc 3 both sides of a single produced by Peter of Mike’s Concert Band with Norma Winstone for a one-off single in 1970, never before reissued.

Two further bonus tracks are on disc 3, a 16 minute piece entitled ‘When Young’ and a ten minute piece called ‘But It Must Get Better’, both recorded as the Mike Westbrook Quartet in 1970, and previously unreleased.

This box set of the two remastered Marching Song volumes, plus the bonus material mastered from the analogue tapes in Mike’s archive, are packaged with a booklet containing rare photographs from the 60’s live performances plus a major essay on Mike, and these compositions, by noted jazz critic and writer Duncan Heining.

The recording career of Mike Westbrook between 1967-1975, with 12 albums released, is detailed in a major Record Collector magazine article by Colin Harper published in April 2017. Plus news items published in Jazzwise magazine.

A serious collection for any serious modern jazz fan.

Details
Cat. number: TURBXM500
Year: 2017