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Mike Westbrook & The Uncommon Orchestra – On Duke’s Birthday

Sunday 26 April 2020 8pm Grand Hotel, Torquay

Buy Tickets £18 adv. £10 under 18. No booking fee. £20 door.

“This tribute to Duke Ellington not only confirms the depths of his jazz roots, but also how
effectively Westbrook can evoke the spirits of his biggest heroes without mimicking them”. John Fordham The Guardian

Mike Westbrook, “Britain’s most innovative Big Band leader” ( The Wire) and The Uncommon Orchestra return to The Grand Hotel with one of Mike’s best known and most loved works, dedicated to the memory of Duke Ellington – prior to a performance at Ronnie Scott’s in London on April 29th, Ellington’s Birthday.

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” is a West Country based big band formed ten years ago. It is now established nationally and internationally through its performances, including Ronnie Scotts, a triumphant tour in Italy, and the release of the acclaimed album, A Bigger Show. The Orchestra is joined by special guests, including violinist Dominique Pifarely and saxophonist Chris Biscoe in this new and extended re-creation of one of the masterworks of Contemporary Jazz.

“Mike Westbrook’s homage to Duke Ellington, his first and deepest inspiration, is the very best kind of tribute, in which one man uses his own language to to evoke the spirit of another. You will find no imitations of the Ellington trademarks, but there will be moments in which every listener will glimpse the shadows of the master.” Richard Williams The Times
“No Ducal works, no imitation, despite which its elegance, its gaiety constantly edged with melancholy, its mocking jauntiness, its drive and lyricism reveal Westbrook and Duke – for all their individuality – as brothers in spirit.” Ray Comisky Irish Times

The Uncommon Orchestra
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 special guests
Dominique Pifarely violin, Stuart Brooks trumpet
Chris Biscoe saxophones, Frank Schaefer cello

The Grand Hotel, Torquay offers preferential room rates for those wanting to stay over at the hotel after the concert. Call them for more information 01803 296677 and tell them you have tickets for the concert.

They are also offering dinner from 6pm before the concert at a special pre-concert rate of £22.50. View/download the menu. here. Again booking and further information from The Grand Hotel 01803 296677