Uncommonly good jazz

Big noise at change of venue for Birmingham Jazz.

Birmingham Jazz will be presenting a special event on Sunday 17th December at the Blue Orange theatre, 118 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham, when Mike Westbrook will be leading his Uncommon Orchestra.

The twenty-strong ensemble will be providing a big sound for winter, in the studio space of the Blue Orange. Mike Westbrook was in his early 20’s when he first led a band and he has been doing it for the last 55 years. Like the great US bandleaders, he has continually gathered together powerful combinations of playing talent that have brought his often-ambitious compositions to vigorous life. His biggest and most impressive achievements have been collaborations with lyricist and vocalist Kate Westbrook, usually highly stylised jazz oratorios, often with a political edge and always staged on a grand scale that defies the economic logic of jazz

Mike has a long history of innovative visceral music. Straight Jazz bands, theatre, marching bands and the best Beatles cover ever Off Abbey Road. Now he has created A Bigger Show mixing long time collaborators such as Alan Wakeman and Pete Wyman with younger (one is a Conservatoire student) players with classical and rock musicians.

A Bigger Show has been described as a jazz/rock oratorio. Kate Westbrook’s scenario uses the image of the fairground to examine, with irony, humour and high drama, the lot of Humankind in the age of the World-Wide-Web. Mike Westbrook’s score for 20-piece ensemble involves 3 vocalists/actors, acoustic brass and saxophones, electronics and a rhythm section.

Mike Westbrook & the Uncommon Orchestra, Sunday 17th December 2017, 8.00pm at the Blue Orange Theatre, 118 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham B18 6AD. Admission £15 (members £10 students £8)