Born in High Wycombe in 1936, Mike Westbrook grew up in Torquay and was educated at Kelly College, Tavistock. He formed his first band while studying painting in Plymouth in 1958, moving to London in the early 1960s. He has led and composed for a succession of groups, notably his 1960s Sextet and Concert Band, his Brass Band, formed in the mid 70s, the jazz rock group Solid Gold Cadillac and the Mike Westbrook Orchestra. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, and as far afield as Australia and the Far East, Canada and New York. He has directed performances of his work with big bands in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland and Australia. He has broadcast on radio and TV in many countries, and made over 50 albums.
Kate Westbrook: Voice and Tenpor Horn
Kate Westbrook is an artist following the professions of painter and musician. Her musical work centres on her career as a vocalist, predominantly with the bands of her husband, British composer and bandleader Mike Westbrook. She also works extensively as librettist and doubles as instrumentalist (tenor horn and piccolo).
Phil Minton: Vocals
Phil Minton comes from Torquay in the UK. He played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Band in the early 60s- Then in dance and rock bands in Europe for the later part of the decade. He returned to England in 1971, rejoining Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects until the mid 1980′s.
For most of the last forty years, Phil has been working as a improvising singer in groups, orchestras and situations, in various locations worldwide. Some composers have written pieces that especially employ his extended vocal techniques and improvisations. He has a quartet with Veryan Weston, Roger Turner and John Butcher and ongoing duos with all the above.
Chris Biscoe: Saxes
Chris is an English jazz multi-instrumentalist, a player of the alto, soprano, tenor and baritone saxophone, the alto clarinet, piccolo and flute. Biscoe is most notable for his work done with Mike Westbrook and the NYJO.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, Biscoe toured and recorded with George Russell, Andy Sheppard, Liam Noble, Gail Thompson’s Jazz Africa, Harry Beckett, and also played in France with Didier Levallet’s groups and the collective band called Zhivaro. In 1991, he released a second cassette, Modern Alarms, and also recorded in the Dedication Orchestra in the Spirits Rejoice project.
Billy Thompson: Violin
Billy Thompson is a classically trained improvising violinist performing in numerous different styles of music.
He works with with internationally acclaimed jazz artists such as saxophonist/composer Barbara Thompson OBE and pianist/composer Mike Westbrook OBE. Billy has performed on five albums and a DVD with Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia and is an integral part of the wonderful Glad Day by Mike Westbrook featuring on the project’s live DVD
Initially a self taught guitar-playing singer/songwriter in the 1970’s, everything changed in an instant after a chance encounter with improvising saxophonist, Stuart Spiers.
Steve then gave up a Fine Art Degree moved to London, and switched to double bass, when he was 22 years old.
Born in Avebury, Wiltshire, Bourne first came to national attention as a winner of the Perrier Jazz Award in 2001, which was followed by an award for innovation at the BBC Radio Jazz Awards in 2002, and the International Jazz Festivals Organisation’s International Jazz Award in 2005. Renowned for his intensely personal and sometimes confrontational solo work, Bourne’s uncanny ability to balance delicacy and virtuosity, while establishing a close affinity with his audience, have become hallmarks of his concert performances.