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Westbrook - Rossini


  • Code: OGY661
  • Manufacturer: HatART (Swiss)
  • Manufacturer's code: 0752156066125
  • Price: 58.99 zł
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Avant jazz
premiera polska:
2008-10-02
opakowanie: kartonowe etui
opis:


multikulti.com; 2008-10:
"...To płyta, wcale nienowa, która z miejsca powinna zostać okrzyknięta wydarzeniem. Wznowienie genialnego nagrania Mike Westbrooka nie powinno bowiem - w moim odczuciu - przejść niezauważone. Chociaż od nagrania tego materiału minęło z górą 20 lat, płyta wciąż zaskakuje i inspiruje, chociaż naśladowcy pomysłów Westbrooka - np. Uri Caine - nie dorastają mu do pięt. Pomysł na sięgnięcie po muzykę Rossiniego narodził na początku lat osiemdziesiątych - Westbrook rozpoczął wtedy pracę nad przetworzeniem fragmentów opery "Wilhelm Tell" Rossiniego na festiwal teatralny w Lozannie (w 1984 r.). Później stopniowo poszerzał tę koncepcję (chociaż szkieletem wciąż pozostaje uwertura do tej opery), aż - w roku 1986 - przybrała ona formę, z którą możemy obcować na płycie (prócz tego na płycie znajdują się utwory z oper "Sroka złodziejka", "Cyrulik sewilski" oraz "Otello"). Westbrook podchodzi do muzyki Rossiniego z potężną dawką tak właściwego jej humoru - momentami "a la" Frank Zappa - ale też humor ten nie jest celem samym w sobie. Z kompozycji Rossiniego nie zostaje więc tylko pastisz, ale jest to muzyka, która oczarowuje pięknem, uwodzi liryzmem, porywa energią ale i wybiega w przyszłości. 'Avant garde' oznacza wszak 'straż przednią', wybiegnięcie przed tłum innych twórców, i śmiało możemy używać tego pojęcia w stosunku do aranżacyjnych i interpretacyjnych pomysłów zebranych na tej płycie. Niemała zasługa w tym współpracowników Westbrook'a - świetnie wypadają przede wszystkim saksofoniści Lindsay Cooper i Peter Whyman, bardzo silnie osadzają muzykę w czysto jazzowym kontekście. Zgoła inne zadanie przypisuje lider tubiście Andy'emu Grappy'ie (ale i sobie - bowiem sam także chwyta za ten instrument) - najczęściej 'napędza' ona muzykę zespołu - chociaż duet z puzonistą Paulem Niemanem w 'William Tell Overture IV' czy też solo w uwerturze do 'Cyrulika sewilskiego' są naprawdę zjawiskowe. Niezła jest także Kate Westbrook - tutaj także pełniąca rolę wokalistki. Zwłaszcza, gdy odchodzi on tradycyjnej formy, gdy nie śpiewa a zgrzyta czy charczy - nadaje to muzyce nowego, momentami mrocznego charakteru.
Gdy jest to możliwe, lider pozostawia muzykom miejsce na improwizacje, kompozycje Rossini'ego w niewielkim stopniu ich krępują - jest tu miejsce na dzikie, rozpędzone solówki i sonorystyczne zgrzyty przeplatane ciszą. Mimo tego, wszyscy i wszystko podporządkowane jest tutaj wizji Westbrook,a który narzuca zespołowi rygorystyczną dyscyplinę, przez co muzyka zyskuje niezwykły, kolektywny charakter. Interpretacja propowana przez Westbrooka zdaje się rozszerzać muzykę, ale w niczym nie burzy jej piękna i harmonii, a połączone ze sobą na płycie utwory - z różnych wszak oper Rossiniego - stanowić się zdają jedną, spójną, nierozerwalną całość. Niezwykła dla mnie i porywająca płyta!!!..."
[Wawrzyniec Mąkinia]


Editor's info:
Anyone who has followed British composer/bandleader Mike Westbrook's career for the past 15 or so years knows of the remarkable variety of musical styles and settings he has so deftly utilized. From expressionistic cabaret songs to electric jazz-rock boogaloos, lush tone poems to sizzling straightahead swing charts, his writing has been as uncategorizable as it is individual. But even those familiar with Westbrook's penchant for diversity will be surprised by the music contained on this disc - and for the novice, well, sit back and prepare to be astounded. Echoes of New Orleans marching bands, melodramatic silent film scores, "free" contrapuntal episodes, wry slightly drunken marches, humorous parodies, stately Italian arias, a near-tarantella with a boppish alto solo, an Arabian Nights snake-charmer routine, tuba solos traversing flatulent subterranean depths only to waft into lighter-than-air ethereal breezes, a pseudo-tango, and, as a finale, the Lone Ranger - incongruous seeming combinations, to be sure, but all find a home in the sometimes madcap, ofttimes mellifluous suite which Westbrook has penned from themes by the 19th century Italian opera composer Gioacchino Rossini.
Despite its rather unlikely premise and almost willful multiplicity of styles, Westbrook-Rossini is not merely a pastiche. Nor is it an academic re-ordering of operatic excerpts. Actually, it was never intended to be anything more than a short divertissement for a street theater entertainment. But let's allow Westbrook himself to pick up the story: "The William Tell material was first performed in Lausanne in 1984. We were approached by the organizers of a contemporary street festival - theater people, basically - and the theme of their festival was William Tell. Actually, we didn't know very much about him then - he's a sort of semi-mythical, semi-factual revolutionary hero from the Middle Ages, not at all the joke we sometimes think of him as. And since their performances took place in the street, we had to create some music which could be performed in the open air. Since Kate knows quite a bit more about opera then I do, she had the idea that we listen to Rossini's opera - a somewhat popular version of the story. So we got the albums and a score, and poured over them, and found there was a lot of material - particularly in the overture, but also two or three other pieces - which leapt out, and suggested themselves to the sort of approach we've had over the years, which is basically jazz, but using other sources - unusual song forms, different from the typical jazz standards."
"So we assembled a band which was initially designed to play in the street, which accounts for the slightly unusual lineup; it's sort of like a brass band really, I suppose, step of using the sopranino as lead instrument, which gives a particular character to the music."
Somewhat like Rossini himself, the piece outgrew its modest origin, casually, accidently, almost magically. Westbrook relates, "This Lausanne project could have simply been a very enjoyable one-off, but I found it produces very interesting results when you try to arrange material for that sort of instrumentation - quite economical as it is, and the challenge is to make it sound like a much larger group, with more colors and all - and I found it refreshing to be working on somebody else's material. Most of the time I'm writing original work, which I find very demanding and taxing, and it was a nice change to take Rossini's music, the way you might take a jazz standard, say, and see what you might do with it. So we started listening not only to more William Tell, but also some of the other operas, and took some of the obvious things like the overture to The Thieving Magpie, The Barber of Seville - the popular themes were the first to come to mind, possibly because they were popular, and had that sort of built-in recognition." There's no doubt that the vocal aspect of Rossini's music supplies an inherent lyricism to Westbrook's adaption, but the basic appeal goes much deeper than that. "Kate and I did quite a lot of reading about Rossini's life - he was quite a character, very popular, very highly regarded by the other musicians of his time, a gourmet, and a man who certainly lived life to the fullest - and when it came time to rehearse as a band we talked quite a lot about this, and I think it comes through in the playing. There's a lot of humor, but there's also a lot of very grand music, and a lot of very passionate music - and that's something that comes right through, I think, to a jazz performer; there's a great deal of feeling, and it's very directly expressed. It's something you can really get off on, instrumentally."
Westbrook's knowing transformation of Rossini's themes gives everyone in the band their moment to shine - and more than a few of the moments are stunning, indeed. The long, with two tubas, and percussion, trombone, tenor horn, and the two saxophones, with the rather unusual eventful treatment of the song "Lindoro," from The Barber of Seville, is a case in point. Introduced as a haunting serenade by trombonist Paul Nieman (accompanied by the band's dogged distortions of his serious demeanor), Westbrook's own piano soliloquy is full of touching sentiments in its prismatic rendering of the theme; there's an almost bel canto expressiveness in Peter Whyman's alto aria, and Kate Westbrook's vocal entry, surrounded by silence, seems to suck all the air out of the room. Her range - not only of tessitura, but of emotion as well - is something special, and her talent is justification enough for Westbrook's concentration on vocal music over the last few years. Keep in mind that this is not a collection of isolated episodes, but a considerable ensemble work as well, full of relaxed pastoral airs alternating with more tumultuous melees - a juxtaposition which has found favor in Westbrook's writing as far back as '60s and '70s scores like Marching Song, Metropolis, and Citadel / Room 315, and as recent as The Westbrook Blake, The Cortege, and On Duke's Birthday. Typically, his arrangements set you up in what appear to be comfortable surroundings, then suddenly alter your sense of perspective with a swift shift of mood. As a composer and arranger of the first rank, Westbrook thrives on contrast and diversity; yet even given that, Westbrook - Rossini's playful suggestions of Ellington, Anthony Braxton, and Charlie Chaplin could be considered surrealistic. Still, in the long run, it's Rossini, it's Westbrook, and the twain do meet.
Art Lange, February 1987


All About Jazz:
Whether you believe that opera is the loftiest manifestation of lyric art, or a bastard tradition typified by mannered singing, indifferent acting and an audience that would have Robespierre rubbing his hands in glee, there's no doubt that it has some great tunes. British composer and pianist/tuba player Mike Westbrook gathered a few of them together in the mid 1980s for this Rossini project.

Westbrook-Rossini grew out of a commission Westbrook received from a Swiss street-theatre company in 1984. The brief called for a band which could provide musical interludes for a play about the Swiss national hero, William Tell - a perambulatory band that could make itself heard in the open air, which explains the unusual seven-piece instrumentation including a sopranino saxophone, two tubas and (in the original line-up) no piano.

At the suggestion of his singer/wife Kate, Westbrook listened to the 19th century Italian composer, Gioacchino Rossini's opera "William Tell," which went on to provide the source material for the commission. As Westbrook's enthusiasm for Rossini's music grew, so did the scope of the project, and an expanded version of the original theatre commission, including pieces from Rossini's "The Barber of Seville," "The Thieving Magpie" and "Otello," was performed at Zurich Jazz Festival in 1987 (and subsequently released on a double LP). A studio version was released on CD in 1988, and Westbrook-Rossini is a re-issue of that session.

It's a playful, mellifluous affair in which Westbrook celebrates some of Rossini's best known tunes (even non-opera buffs will recognize most of them), refracted through his own singular, multifaceted, musical prism. Grand opera aside, the suite draws from post-Duke Ellington orchestral jazz, jazz-rock, free improv, Maghrebi folk music, tango and (slightly drunken) Ruritanian marches. Even the Lone Ranger is acknowledged in the full-tilt reading of the "galloping theme" from "William Tell," hinted at briefly in "William Tell Overture IV" and then embraced with abandon on the disc's closing track, "William Tell Overture V."

Instrumentally, the emphasis is on richly harmonised ensemble work driven by Peter Fairclough's powerful, Sonny Greer going on Ginger Baker drums, but there are several fine solos from Lindsay Cooper on sopranino saxophone, Peter Whyman on alto saxophone and Paul Nieman on trombone. Kate Westbrook sings on three tracks "L'amoroso E Sincero Lindoro," "Isuara" and "Tutto Cangia" on which Mike switches from tuba to piano. Her performances, which are by turns respectful of the Italian opera tradition and subversive of it, are wonderful and stirring, highlights of the album.

Westbrook-Rossini might not make an opera fan of you...but then again, stranger things have happened.
By Chris May


muzycy:
Lindsay Cooper: sopranino saxophone
Peter Whyman: alto saxophone
Kate Westbrook: piccolo, tenor horn & voice
Paul Nieman: trombone
Andy Grappy: tuba
Mike Westbrook: piano & tuba
Peter Fairclough: drums

utwory:
1. William Tell Overture II [solo: P. Nieman]
2. William Tell Overture III [solos: P. Whyman, L. Cooper]
3. The Thieving Magpie Overture
4. L'amoroso E Sincero Lindoro from The Barber Of Seville [solos: M. Westbrook, P. Whyman; vocals: K. Westbrook]
5. William Tell Overture IV [solo: Paul Nieman]
6. The Barber Of Seville Overture [solos: L. Cooper, P. Nieman, P. Whyman, A. Grappy]
7. Thievish Magpie [solos: P. Fairclough, P. Whyman]
8. William Tell Overture I [solo: Andy Grappy]
9. Si Cinge Il Pro'guerriero from William Tell [solos: P. Nieman, P. Whyman]
10. Isaura from Otello [solo: L. Cooper; vocals: K.Westbrook]
11. Tutto Cangia from William Tell [vocals: K. Westbrook; backing vocals: L. Cooper, P. Fairclough, P. Nieman, A. Grappy]
12. William Tell Overture V [solos: P. Whyman, L. Cooper]

wydano: 2008-07
more info: www.hathut.com

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