Born: September 18 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Kate Westbrook was born in Britain but spent much of her childhood in the USA and Canada. Educated at Dartington Hall School, in Devon. Kate went on to study Fine Art at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, and at Reading University, before returning to live and work on the East and West coasts of America, and travelling in Mexico. The first solo show of her paintings was at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, in 1963. On returning to the UK she continued to exhibit her work and she taught at Leeds College of Art, at that time in the forefront of experimental theatre and performance art. Kate's musical career began in the mid '70s when she joined the Mike Westbrook Brass Band, and gave up teaching to concentrate on the dual career of painter and musician....
Pascai Anquetil Monde De La Musique
CUFF CLOUT REVIEW 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