This is double conceptual CD which evokes the horrors of war,fright of death and tranquility after sadness.All that creativity of numerous interplays of howling brass section could not have been possible without the best British jazz studio musicians(no less than 26 aces). Very enjoyable and serious jazz album.
The reviews preceding my own refer to a previous version,this is now a 3 cd set,with additional material added,and the extra disc is a worthwhile one.But the original Marching Songs is always worthy of your time,money,and attention,as is most of the Westbrook canon,surely our greatest jazz composer,our own Ellington,this is a must have for anyone interested in jazz(especially),or music(generally).Personally,I can't have too much Westbrook,thought provoking,moving,ambitious,extraordinary......you cannot go wrong.
These albums are a strident body of work. Perhaps I should declare that Mike Westbrook can do little wrong in my ears before observing that these albums have got just about everything in 'jazz'. They are fine examples of the wealth of talent in UK jazz of the time which has not received the acclaim it truly deserves. Rather than rattle-on about the twists, turns and theoretical dynamics of the pieces, I will leave you with this thought .. recognising that Marching Song's are war-protest albums, I was immediately minded of the poems of Wilfred Owen and how wonderfully they might be 'merged' with this music in a similar fashion to Glad Day - another Westbrook Masterpiece. At £7.99 new, or less for good second-hand, buy it quick then add your voice to the rousing chorus demanding long overdue justice for the Crown Jewels of English music : 60's/70's UK Jazz. Ask Gilles Peterson
Wonderful musicianship just like the bulk of his suites. I do miss the vocal element of Kate and Phil Minton:in many ways, this is an acquired taste, but remarkably beautiful once you realise what they are trying to achieve and the work that has gone into it. Looks as though I'm reviewing previous purchases, and I probably am: the greats from the 60s are all here in Marching Songs (Surman, Osborne etc) and it's reasonably priced. A terribly underrated composer in his own country.
I bought this on vinyl on the DERAM label when it first came out. I was blown away then and nothing has changed in the intervening 40 years. A pleasure to see this available again. If you like free blowing big band jazz give this a listen. You will not be disappointed.