Mike Westbrook's Uncommon Orchestra: On Duke’s Birthday

Mike Westbrook's Uncommon Orchestra: On Duke’s Birthday

Mike Westbrook's Uncommon Orchestra: On Duke’s Birthday

Selected performance:
Wednesday 28th October


Please note: there will be no support act.

Set times:

7.30 – 8.30pm and 9-10pm

Mike Westbrook, “Britain’s most innovative Big Band leader” ( the Wire ), and The UNCOMMON ORCHESTRA return to the club with one of Mike’s best known and most loved works On Duke’s Birthday dedicated to the memory of Duke Ellington. This will be the first time that the full-scale version of the piece will have been performed in London. The fact that April 29th is Ellington’s birthday makes this an even more special occasion.

Compositions for Jazz Orchestra have been a thread running through Mike Westbrook’s career since the 1960s. Works like Marching Song, Metropolis, Citadel/ Room 315 and The Cortege were widely performed at Festivals throughout Europe and the UK, and are regarded as classics. His Big Band Rossini was the first jazz work ever to be performed in the BBC Proms. A three-day festival in Catania Sicily in 1992 devoted to Mike’s work for the Orchestra is commemorated in his recent album Catania.

The Uncommon Orchestra, “ambitious, unapologetic and uncategorisable” (Jazz Wise) is a West Country-based big band formed ten years ago. It is now established nationally and internationally through its performances, including Ronnie Scotts in 2019, a triumphant tour in Italy and the release of the acclaimed album A Bigger Show. In the band are musicians long associated with Mike Westbrook’s work including vocalist/librettist Kate Westbrook, saxophonists Pete Whyman and Alan Wakeman and trumpeter Dave Holdsworth. It also features up-and-coming soloists like Roz Harding (saxophone) Sam Massey and Andy Hague ( trumpets), trombonist Joe Carnell, pianist Billie Bottle, , guitarists Jesse Molins and Matthew North, bassist Marcus Vergette and drummer Coach York.

Special guests for On Duke’s Birthday are Dominique Pifarely (violin), Frank Schaefer (cello) and Chris Biscoe (saxophones).

The full line-up:

Pete Whyman, Roz Harding, Sarah Dean, Alan Wakeman, Ian Wellens - saxophones

Robin Pengilley, Tim Rabbitt, Sam Massey, Andy Hague - trumpets

Joe Carnell, Sam Chamberlain-Keen, Stewart Stunell, Ashley Nayler - trombones

Dave Holdsworth - trumpet and sousaphone

Jesse Molins, Matthew North - guitars

Billie Bottle - piano

Marcus Vergette - bass

Coach York- drums

Kate Westbrook - voice

Mike Westbrook - piano/MD

plus guests

Dominique Pifarely - violin

Stuart Brooks - trumpet

Chris Biscoe - saxophones

Frank Schaefer - cello

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