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Then and Now
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Chris Biscoe Quartet - Live at Campus West
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Profiles of Mingus
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Music Is - Chris Biscoe Plays Mike Westbrook
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Gone In The Air
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Gone In The Air

Music Is – Chris Biscoe Plays Mike Westbrook
The idea behind Music Is is a simple one: take some of these great pieces out of their context and play them with a small jazz group as you might an Ellington, Monk or Gershwin song.

Mike Westbrook is one of the most important composers in jazz with a huge body of work from small band jazz through big bands, cabaret, fusion, chamber works, opera, settings of poetry, creative re-workings of Rossini and The Beatles’ Abbey Road, while always retaining his unique character.
Chris Biscoe has worked with Mike and Kate Westbrook since 1979, from Mama Chicago and The Cortege through On Duke’s Birthday, London Bridge is Broken Down, Bar Utopia, Art Wolf and many other shows. Their closest and most enduring collaboration is The Trio, which has toured extensively and produced four records.
Arrangements are simple, or even created in the studio in partnership with input from the members of the quintet. The title track, Music Is, appears twice, in its original ballad tempo, and in a spontaneous trio recasting as a medium tempo waltz. There are also two unaccompanied sax tracks, one of them a multitrack improvisation for alto sax, alto clarinets and field recording of street sounds.
The musicians:
Chris Biscoe – soprano, alto and baritone sax, alto clarinet; Mike Outram – guitar;
Kate Williams - piano; Dave Whitford – bass; Jon Scott – drums
Kate Williams solos with a rare economy, combined with great rhythmic drive and invention. She plays in Chris Biscoe’s ‘Profiles of Mingus’ and has released eight records of her compositions. Finding Home was the Parliamentary Jazz Awards winner for Best Album in 2020.
Mike Outram is a prodigious guitarist, whether playing jazz, blues or fusion music, and a long-term member of the Tony Woods Project. Credits include Tim Garland, Robert Fripp, Jacqui Dankworth, Julian Siegel and Laura Rossi.
Dave Whitford’s unique sound is characterised by great depth and drive. He was a member of the fabulous Bobby Wellins Quartet with Liam Noble and Dave Wickins, and recorded Brubeck with the Liam Noble Trio. Credits include The Christine Tobin Band, Josephine Davies Satori, Hans Koller Ensemble, and Bill Frisell, Steve Lacy and John Taylor.
Jon Scott is a wonderfully flexible and varied drummer, first heard with Kairos 4Tet, now with GoGo Penguin and Mulatu Astatke. Other credits include the Pete Hurt Jazz Orchestra, Jasper Holby, Alice Zawadski, Alexander Hawkins and Dwight Trible.
The tracks:
Music is: from ‘On Duke’s Birthday’ is the closing piece from Mike’s celebration of Duke Ellington. Three great musicians and friends from the first performance have died and this is dedicated to Tony Marsh, Danilo Terenzi and Stuart Brooks.
Mama Chicago and Goin to Chicago: from ‘Mama Chicago’. I based the Goin’ to Chicago solos on note rows from the theme, rather than a chord sequence.
Aggro-Vancouver-Desperado: from ‘L’ascenseur/The Lift’. Returning late from a Dave Frishberg gig showed a different side of Vancouver to its light and airy daytime feel.
Music Is album cover
View From The Drawbridge: from ‘Citadel/Room 315’. The Citadel performance develops through several moods and themes. We use only one theme. Mike and Dave hadn’t played it before so we had a run-through which Andy Cleyndert recorded. We felt that we wouldn’t record with the same simplicity if we played it again. For Lois Barry and Bobby Wellins.
July ‘79: from ‘The Cortege’ was a feature for Chris Hunter and Brian Godding.
Wasteground And Weeds: from ‘Goodbye, Peter Lorre’ (Kate Westbrook). Kate’s lyrics tell of strolling through the deserted streets of central and east London before the current stages of redevelopment.

You can find out more about all these recordings and their availability at www.westbrookjazz.co.uk
Thanks to Mike and Kate Westbrook for their encouragement and constructive comment during the creation of this project. Further thanks to Kate for permission to reproduce four pages from her travel sketchbook in the CD booklet.

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