Westbrook & Company – Paintbox Jane. Raoul Dufy Paints A Portrait

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Mike Westbrook & Company performing Paintbox Jane

I have had the good fortune to hear this piece in preview performances, and I can tell you it is a delight. There is indeed a lovely waltz, plenty of jazz, a tango, a powerful blues, (familiar to those who have heard Mike Westbrook’s recent solo piano work as Gaudy Bar), a lyrical ballad Sound of Caress, (also on the recent solo piano album Paris) and a samba too. The words conjure up vivid scenes, as befits a piece about a painter famous for his use of colour and line. Jane Mann. London Jazz News

Paintbox Jane is a joyful new jazz cabaret, with words by Kate Westbrook and music by Mike Westbrook. This is a small-scale jazz theatre piece billed as “a celebration of Raoul Dufy’s paintings and a meditation on the nature of Art in words and music”.

On the sea wall in Nice, Raoul Dufy paints a portrait of his muse Jane. A troupe of singers and instrumentalists celebrate the painter in Waltz, Jazz, Blues and Repartee until the sun goes down and envelopes the generous, sensual world of Monsieur Dufy.

Mike Westbrook, composer and pianist is the most illustrious member of Westbrook & Company. He has received many honours and his outpouring of work in a career stretching over 50 years, ranges from scores for full orchestra to solo piano improvisation. With Kate in Paintbox Jane he creates a piece which reflects his passion for art and for theatre.

Kate Westbrook, singer, lyricist and artist, has made many albums, worked in TV, radio and film. In addition to her work with Mike, her long career has spanned singing the role of Anna in The Brecht/Weill Seven Deadly Sins with the LSO, to Michael Finnissy’s The Transgressive Gospel, to Berlin cabaret.

Alan Wakeman is a saxophonist of world-wide standing. Al was for sometime in the legendary band Soft Machine and he has played and recorded with Mike, with Stan Tracey, David Essex and with John Dankworth. He has a rare understanding of the role jazz can play in music-theatre, always relating to the text.

Billie Bottle has a background in circus, theatre and rock, and recently sang the role of the young angel in Paul Joyce’s ‘Celestial’. Billie’s band The Multiple is both innovative and political and, with Martine, their album The Other Place is about to be launched.

Tim Goodwin, stand-up comedian, TV presenter, Shakespearean actor, has toured widely in the U.K. and Europe. Tim creates the role of Raoul Dufy in the Westbrooks’ Paintbox Jane bringing to the character of the painter much tenderness and humour.

Marcus Vergette, musician, bell-maker, sculptor, was born on the banks of the Mississippi river in Southern Illinois. He is a bass player renowned for his Mingus-influenced prowess and for his recent composition The Marsyas Suite inspired by the Titian painting.

Martine Waltier is a Londoner of American and Maltese parentage. She is steeped in opera, jazz, choral music and the urban beat. Martine is a featured soloist in Mike’s Uncommon Orchestra. With Billie’s band The Multiple, she writes, performs and records.

“No one has succeeded in creating a more distinctive body of work than Mike and Kate Westbrook. Their mixture of jazz, music-theatre, poetry, street entertainment and visuals is rich and unique.” Dave Gelly in The Observer