Roughly one year ago I had the good fortune to hear a great piece from this cd on the radio. It was the funky and infectious number Construction, featuring some great guitar soloing by Brian Godding, and psychedelic soprano sax explorations courtesy of John Surman. I knew right off I'd have to acquire this album eventually. I now own a copy of this stellar recording by composer/band leader Mike Westbrook and I'd describe it as a bona-fide if somewhat obscure 70s jazz classic.
This record has been referred to as the best jazz/rock album of the 70s, but that's an inaccurate description. This dynamic and versatile recording shouldn't be relegated to the fusion heap. It's a collection of high quality compositions and arrangements performed by a very skillful large ensemble featuring many great soloists. The punchy horn section gives a number of pieces a big band sound, but I found this only slightly overbearing on one number.
Almost every composition features a different type of featured soloist from guitar to soprano, tenor, and baritone sax, as well as trombone, trumpet, bass clarinet, clarinet, acoustic and electric piano. If you prefer variety in music, this is it! It all sounds remarkably fresh and well recorded for a 1975 session.
If you're a rock music fan who enjoys Frank Zappa's Grand Wazoo, Steely Dan's Aja, or Chicago Transit Authority, you might enjoy this excellent recording by Mike Westbrook. Jazz enthusiasts, and fans of large ensembles like the Carla Bley Big Band, or the Don Ellis Orchestra should give Mike Westbrook a listen. This cd comes highly recommended!