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Mike Westbrook Concert Band

Marching Songs Vol. 2 (LP)

Label: Audio Clarity

Format: LP

Genre: Jazz

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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 2 opens with "Transition" an ensemble piece with more sombre arco bass and horns. Malcolm Griffiths trombone heralds the super-catchy melody to "Home" segueing from the previous track. Griffiths continues to solo here over the rip-roaring ensemble marking another high point of the album. Miller and Chris Laurence perform a pizzicato bass duet in the outgoing section of the number. Following "Rosie" in which Dave Holdsworth solos on trumpet, Surman's elegantly pastoral "Prelude" is a veritable quiet before the storm of the tempestuous "Tension," again written by Surman, and a tune which once heard is not easily forgotten. There's also a thrilling saxophone duet here (or maybe duel) between Surman on baritone and Skidmore on tenor followed by rumbustious soloing on trombone by Malcolm Griffiths.

Details
Cat. number: ACL0045
Year: 2018

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