It's hardly surprising that Mike Westbrook reigned supreme in the latter quarter of the 1960s and early 70s. His big band was voted top of that category in the late-lamented Melody Maker British jazz polls for 1970 (and the two years either side of that). In the same year, his third album, Marching Song, recorded a year earlier came third in the category "LP Of The Year" (the number one album that year was John McLaughlin's seminal Extrapolation so there was exceptionally strong competition). This album, recorded and released in 1969 on Decca's Deram label, was a double LP (also sold as two separate records), and therefore quite unusual for the time, especially for jazz. It comprised a suite of compositions by Westbrook, with three tracks on Volume 2 written by John Surman, and based on the concept of the vainglorious futility of war. Volume 1's "Hooray!" begins with roaring crowd noise, years before sampling was even heard of, and not dissimilar to the opening of Weather Report's "Nubian Sundance" on Mysterious Traveller. Then come the drums, beating in unison courtesy of John Marshall and Alan Jackson. "Landscape" begins with Westbrook alone on piano but a highlight of this longish piece is the arco bass duet featuring Barre Phillips and Harry Miller sounding surprisingly like a string quartet to the unaware. "Waltz (for Joanna)" is a gorgeous piece of writing embellished by a peerless soaring soprano solo by Surman. Following a sombre short ensemble link track, "Landscape II," Paul Rutherford produces an appropriately free trombone solo on "Other World."