JJ 04/73: Mike Westbrook – Solid Gold Cadillac

Fifty years ago Ron Brown heard some jazzers failing to get rock and turning in the usual Westbrookian hotch-potch. First published in Jazz Journal April 1973


This likeable LP is a strange mixture; there’s some heart-warmingly rabble-rousing tenor by Khan, turning up all of a sudden half-way through the spoof, We Do It, some beautiful, almost Gil Evans-like scoring behind Malcolm Griffiths on Greek Music II, and a very witty title track, but most of it consists of jazz musicians trying to play rock, and not making it. Because rock, whether the jazzoisie like it or not, has its own techniques, and this band em­ploys them sloppily when it uses them at all.

Alan Jackson is one of the country’s finest jazz drummers, but his work here is too loose for the style at­tempted, and he hasn’t tuned his bass drum to get that marvellous, chunky sound that rock demands.

However, the record contains no elements that haven’t appeared before in Mike Westbrook’s music, apart from Phil Minton’s sub-Jack Bruce singing, and it fits fairly naturally into the overall picture made by his work. Its a hotch-potch which won’t convert new listeners, from the jazz or rock camps, but its enough of a Westbrookian hotch-potch to make it acceptable to anyone who’s dug his out­put up to now.

Technology; Let It Shine; March; There Was A Man; Morning Song (20 min) – We Do It; The Island; Greek Music I & II; Pleasure City; Solid Gold Cadillac (20 min)
Phil Minton (lead-vcl/tpt); George Khan (ten/el-sax/flt): Malcolm Griffiths (tbn); Dick Morecambe (gtr/el-gtr/vcl); Mike Westbrook (el-pno/vcl); Roy Babbington (bs-gtr/bs); Flachra Trench (pno/org/vcl): Alan Jackson (dm); Chris Spedding (additional el-gtr on ‘Technology’ and ‘Solid Gold Cadillac’. London, 1971.
(RCA SF 8311 £2.29)