24 marzo 2017

Dopo The Original Peter Tony Staveacre estrae dagli archivi delle sue antiche produzioni per la BBC - qui una coproduzione con Helen Fraser - un altro prezioso documentario westbrookiano, stavolta dedicato a uno dei lavori più celebri del compositore, The Cortège, ripreso all'epoca di alcune sue presentazioni in concerto nel Regno Unito pochi giorni prima delle sessioni di registrazione in studio. Il filmato, diretto da Jonathan Fulford, venne presentato in Omnibus (BBC One) nel febbraio 1982. Della Mike Westbrook Orchestra facevano parte allora Phil Minton, Dave Plews, Guy Barker, Dick Pearce, Malcolm Griffiths, Alan Sinclair, Dave Powell, Chris Hunter, Phil Todd, Chris Biscoe, Lindsay Cooper, Brian Godding, Georgie Born, Steve Cook e Dave Barry, oltre naturalmente a Kate e Mike.

Quando l'album venne ristampato da Enja nel 2011 in versione rimasterizzata - in precedenza Enja (2CD, 1993) e prima ancora Original Records (3LP, 1982) - scrisse Duncan Heining: "The Westbrooks have made many beautiful and profound records but this is my favourite. That I can say that without forgetting Metropolis, Citadel/Room 315, Marching Song, The Westbrook Blake, Chanson Irresponsable, Mama Chicago, London Bridge, Art Wolf, The Westbrook Rossini or On Duke’s Birthday is a measure of the man’s music. How many jazz composers could point to a career as rich in masterpieces as that? One always feels with a Westbrook & Westbrook project that every detail has been addressed in order to make the most complete artistic statement. The first emphasis is on the music, the second to ensure it allows the expression of something beyond itself. Here the idea of a New Orleans funeral procession is a metaphor for life’s journey. Shame then that Enja have truncated the original explanatory sleevenotes to their detriment. No matter, you can still revel in the righteousness of Cordoba, Westbrook’s magnificent setting of Lorca, or the glorious Santarcangelo with Hubert Parry’s arrangement of Jerusalem at its heart. There are splendours too in Democratie and July ’79, an affirmation of the natural world in Erme Estuary and so much, more beauty in this CD. Should there be a heaven and should I get an invite, may this be the music to carry me there."