The Cortège

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Kate And Mike Westbrook
LABELS: Enja
PERFORMER: Mike Westbrook Orchestra
CATALOGUE NO: ENJ-708722

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Recorded in 1982, The Cortège is a rich and complex composition for voices and 17-piece jazz orchestra that operates on a number of levels. The title not only refers to a funeral procession but also reflects the Westbrook band’s journey through Europe, absorbing and incorporating into the work texts from Clare and Blake through to Lorca, Rimbaud and the German novelist Hesse.

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The tone and structure of the work also derive from the three parts of a New Orleans funeral – slow procession, service, exuberant parade; the result is an intense, closely woven meditation on the passing scenes of life expressed in music, ranging from the most exuberant jazz-rock to the subtlest of sound-collages. It is widely known that Mike and Kate Westbrook’s music is unique in jazz for its openness to other art forms, and The Cortège is among their finest work. Chris Parker