21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The missing link between Mike Flowers Pops and Sun Ra?,
By A Customer
This review is from: Metropolis (Audio CD)
Imagine if you will two bands playing at once - one improvising freely and noisily, the other playing hard-hitting jazz-rock-funk riffs in a selection of interesting tempi - with an overlay of plush brass arrangements. The Test Card scored by Albert Ayler? Not quite. But Metropolis remains an extraordinary work, even by Westbrook's own standards. His biggest ensemble assembled outside of Marching Song (23 musicians in all, including a double rhythm section, electric and acoustic) works to create an astonishing melee of impressionistic urban onomatopoeia which can sometimes ("Part I") come across like a noisy neighbour hi-fi battle (no bad thing in this instance), at other times a delicate tracery of pointillistic free interaction (the immaculate Norma Winstone on "Part III"), at yet other times like Archie Shepp hijacking the Northern Dance Orchestra (George Khan's tenor freakout on "Part VI"), and finally as a series of gorgeous ballad settings, most notably in the terribly moving finale "Part IX," a justly celebrated feature for Harry Beckett's melancholic but very Milesian trumpet which somehow manages to fuse the Miles of both Miles Ahead (those Evans-esque carpets of brass and woodwind) and In A Silent Way (the twinkling electric piano and stealthy percussion). Both the apex of, and epilogue to, Westbrook's first phase of large-scale composing, Metropolis can still astonish and touch three-and-a-half decades later.