Mike Westbrook's Glad Day
Settings of the Poetry of William Blake

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Kate Westbrook voice, tenor horn, piccolo

Phil Minton
voice

Peter Whyman, Alan Wakeman & Chris Biscoe saxophones

Steve Berry double bass

Dave Barry
drums

Mike Westbrook
piano

plus Choir
(usually rehearsed and performed with a local Senior School Choir)


Music Mike Westbrook

Texts arranged Adrian Mitchell / Kate Westbrook


Many of the songs in this collection derive from Tyger, Adrian Mitchell's musical about William Blake, which was staged by the National Theatre Company in 1971 with specially commissioned music by Mike Westbrook. An Original Cast album was released at the time. In 1977 this material formed the basis of Mitchell's Glad Day, a Thames TV Music-drama marking the 150th anniversary of Blake's death.

By the mid 1970s the Blake songs had become an integral part of the repertoire of the Mike Westbrook Brass Band, on tour throughout Britain and Europe as well as further afield. Four songs were included in the Brass Band's 1975 album For the Record.

In the course of the Brass Band's development more material was added and in 1980 the album The Westbrook Blake was devoted entirely to William Blake settings.

The Westbrook Blake was revived in 1996 at the Greenwich Festival. The original Brass Band was brought together specially for the occasion and the programme was expanded to include further Blake texts. This was the first 'live' performance to include a choir, now a regular feature.

Glad Day, recorded in 1997 and featuring six pieces not on the original album, presents Mike Westbrook's Blake settings in their most complete form to date.


Westbrook's arrangements are beautifully drawn, his musicians' application brilliantly discreet, and the choir delivered their parts with sweet gusto in a concert that charmed, excited and delighted—Scottish Herald (review of Queen's Hall concert, Edinburgh, October 2001)

If there is one piece in Mike Westbrook's large and diverse repertoire which sums up his music better than any other, it is surely these settings of the poetry of William Blake for two great vocal soloists, Kate Westbrook and the spine-tingling Phil Minton, the pianist's excellent Brass Band, and a choir—The Scotsman

A deeply moving musical experience, superbly arranged and with brilliantly marshalled choral parts … [
Glad Day] represents a summation of a twenty-year obsession—Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD

Mike Westbrook makes full use of his two striking vocalists, Kate Westbrook and Phil Minton, and coaxes fervent performances from horn men Chris Biscoe and Alan Wakeman … He finds music to match the ecstasy of 'I See Thy Form' and desolation of 'London Song', turns a 'Poison Tree' into a blood-curdling tango, and fashions a magnificent anthem for 'Let the Slave/The Price of Experience', Blake's great paeans to freedom, dignity and compassion—The Wire

There is much to recommend and listen to on this set … Like the poet and visionary himself, this is music that is enormously life-affirming—Jazz Journal

Perhaps the greatest work in all British jazz—Independent on Sunday

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