L-R: Marcus Vergette, Mike Westbrook, Kate Westbrook, Billy Bottle
Jane Mann writes:
A joyful new jazz cabaret, Paintbox Jane, with words by Kate Westbrook and music by Mike Westbrook, is currently on tour. This is a small-scale jazz theatre piece in the tradition of previous Westbrook shows Platterback, Art Wolf and The Ass. It is billed as “a celebration of Raoul Dufy’s paintings and a meditation on the nature of Art in words and music”.
The Westbrooks, both of whom studied Art, have pondered the subject in various musical projects over many years. Indeed, vocalist and lyricist Kate Westbrook has a parallel career as a painter, recently exhibiting her painting series Diana and Actaeon in London.
The cabaret is performed by Westbrook & Company – Kate Westbrook, Martine Waltier and Billy Bottle, voices, Marcus Vergette, double bass, Alan Wakeman, saxophones, Mike Westbrook, piano and actor Tim Goodwin as Raoul Dufy. (Incidentally Marcus Vergette is also a practising artist – a sculptor. He has work around the country and abroad – in London his Harmonic Cannon, two bronze bells on an oak structure, is currently on public display at Trinity College of Music, Greenwich, which coincidentally holds the Westbrook Collection of scores).
The show is summarised by Westbrook & Company thus:
“On the sea wall in Nice,
Raoul Dufy paints a portrait of his muse Jane.
A troupe of singers and instrumentalists celebrate the painter in Waltz, Jazz, Blues and Repartee…
..Until the sun goes down and envelops the generous, sensual world of Monsieur Dufy.”
I have had the good fortune to hear this piece in preview performances, and I can tell you it is a delight. There is indeed a lovely waltz, plenty of jazz, a tango, a powerful blues, (familiar to those who have heard Mike Westbrook’s recent solo piano work as Gaudy Bar), a lyrical ballad Sound of Caress, (also on the recent solo piano album Paris) and a samba too. The words conjure up vivid scenes, as befits a piece about a painter famous for his use of colour and line.
Few can convey joy like the Westbrooks, so if you want your heart lifted in these worrying times, go along to one of these performances of Paintbox Jane:
– Sunday 23rd April 2017 in Exeter at the Barnfield Theatre Book Online HERE
Tel 01392 271 808
– Friday April 28th & Saturday April 29th 2017 in London at Vout-O-Reenees
Tel 07753 702910 – Book Online for Friday HERE: and Saturday HERE
– Saturday 6th May 2017 in Calstock, Cornwall at Calstock Hall,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 01822 834418