April 12, 1969

GIGS: April 12 1969 – Melody Maker Pollwinners Concert, Royal Festival Hall, London – Mike Westbrook Band, Ronnie Scott Band, Georgie Fame, Chris Pyne, Sandy Brown, Joe Harriott, John Surman, Harold McNair, Stan Tracey, Rendell-Carr, Ron Matthewson, Tony Oxley, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth Band, Tubby Hayes.

Barry McRae (Jazz Journal 22/5 May 1969) wrote: “The programme closed with the Mike Westbrook Concert Band. Their section started like the more disastrous Duke Ellington performances, with musicians returning from the bar throughout the first five minutes. Musically they settled quickly and there were excellent solos from Paul Rutherford, Malcolm Griffiths and John Surman (on soprano). Westbrook himself sang I’m Old Fashioned in a hilarious parody of 1940s pop and shocked one of the most unresponsive audiences I have ever seen, even at the RFH. Many walked out and almost all who remained sat in stoney-faced amazement. The band’s continuous performance made its usual use of a sterling march theme, which was gradually broken down into the flowing rhythms of the new jazz and so became the cushion on which Surman’s fiery soprano rested. It represented the high-spot of the evening but there had been disappointingly few others with which to compare it.”


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