With CUFF CLOUT Kate Westbrook presents a new take on the English Music-Hall. The dominant form of popular entertainment throughout the early 20th century, Music-Hall was a loose assemblage of songs and sketches, both comic and serious, spiced with political satire and sexual innuendo.
In her neoteric Music-Hall, - "a Music-Hall for the 21st century", Kate brings together the disparate elements of traditional Music-Hall in a thoroughly contemporary context. Her lyrics embrace tragedy and comedy, and range from high art to knock-about. By inviting 8 composers from across the whole spectrum of contemporary music to set her texts, Kate has ensured a rich and surprising mix of musical genres.
Kate and her accomplice John Winfield produce an astonishing variety of vocal performances and characterisations, sometimes solo, sometimes as a double act, as they move through a sequence of dramatically varied musical settings.
Marching under the banner of 'The Skirmishers', the 20 or so performers on the album represent a cross-section of the UK's most accomplished and creative musicians, - rock, jazz, classical and pop.
...this record is a triumph for Kate's multiple talents.
Duncan Heining, Jazzwise Aug 2004
Intensely moving, witty, charming and touching by turns, the album provides a perfect vehicle for the dramatic vocal skill of both Kate Westbrook and her singing partner John Winfield and shines an intriguing new light on a neglected but distinctive area of English culture.
Jazz at Ronnie Scott's, July 2004
British vocalist Kate Westbrook has a gift for music theater. Updating early 20th-century English music hall on Cuff Clout, Westbrook sets her witty and eccentric texts to bold and fascinating genre-crossing music composed by eight collaborators, including her bandleader husband Mike Westbrook and other Anglo jazz worthies Chris Biscoe, Lindsay Cooper and Barbara Thompson. Maintaining a wicked edginess in her rich, limber voice, she skewers the memory of the millionaire inventor of barbed wire on "Glidden" and plumbs a gloomy, stately mood on the striking piano-and-voice ballad "My Lazy Goodheart," where her emotional timbre suggests blood ties to Marianne Faithfull. John Winfield is one hell of a lead singer, too, playing the part of a jailbird's confederate to the hilt in "Toad's Washerwoman" and wrenching cryptic meaning out of the words to "The Riddle."
Together, Westbrook and Winfield embark on a cosmic journey singing the terrifically daft "Oceans, Straits, Currents & Seas"-think Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Lord Byron and private eye John Shaft sharing a pickle jar full of LSD. Kate's Skirmishers band performs with a deft touch, whether sounding like an old strip joint combo on "Toad's Washerwoman" or enshrouding "One Cezanne Apple" with a Third Stream funereal air. Getting comfortable with Westbrook's "neoteric music hall" may take some work but it's worth it.
Frank-John Hadley - Downbeat, October 2004
DownBeat 4 Star Rating
With contributions from the likes of Jenni Roditi, Mike Westbrook and Errollyn Wallen, among others, interest for the listener is guaranteed. Kate Westbrook is the contributor of the lyrics, which she has crafted with skill and performs with aplomb. The combination of her Lenya-like voice with that of John Winfield's clear jazz tenor works exceptionally well. The album has been stunningly produced and engineered."
Antonia Couling - The Singer, June / July 2005
released October 8, 2019
Kate Westbrook voice (1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9)
John Winfield voice (1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9)
Stuart Brooks trumpet (1,9)
Chris Biscoe alto sax (1,6,9)
Tim Holmes sopranino/soprano sax (7)
Peter Whyman alto/soprano sax (2,6,7)
Barbara Thompson soprano sax (3,8)
Peter King alto sax (5)
Alan Barnes alto sax (5)
Andy Grappy tuba (1,2,8,9)
Laka Daisical piano/keyboards (1,6,9)
Errollyn Wallen piano (4)
John Alley piano (2,7)
Mike Carr hammond organ (5)
Billy Thompson violin (3,8)
Dudley Phillips electric bass (3)
Peter Lemer synthesiser (8)
Jon Hiseman drums (8)
Sebastian Rochford drums (1,6,9)
Nic France drums (3)
Steve Brown drums (5)
Neil Percy percussion (7)
Recording directed, engineered and mixed by Jon Hiseman
Concept and production Kate Westbrook
Co-producer John Winfield
Music Co-ordinator Mike Westbrook
recording funded by 𝑨𝒊𝒓𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒇𝒕 𝑻𝒓𝒖𝒔𝒕
Cuff Clout was recorded at Temple Music Studios, Sutton, November 2001.
Music originally commissioned by Kate Westbrook in 1994
with funds from the Arts Council of England.
Unrecorded Beam is beautifully conceived, performed and recorded. I am fortunate indeed to have connection with the album, in two improvisations responding to Billie and the Multiple on their flight. Kate Westbrook