The Piano and Me: Jazz giant in rare one man show

A Devon-wide organisation is presenting its third event this Winter, to usher in the coming of spring. Anyone with a love of jazz will find a rich tapestry of music, woven by a master of the genre.

The Piano and Me will feature Mike Westbrook and is being produced by the Devonshire Association’s Music and Folklore Section (DAMFS) which is a new organisation amalgamating two established groups. It is hosted in association with The Bridge Inn, Topsham which is a recognised venue for high quality music events.

Mike is taking a break from his larger gigs to present an up close and personal experience, talking us through his lifelong relationship with the piano and providing copious illustrations. You are invited to come and spend some time experiencing the skill of this extraordinary musician in a beautifully informal and intimate environment.

The venue is The Bridge Inn, Topsham, who are providing a selection of excellent real ales and bar facilities.

The event was initiated by DAMFS committee member Robin Wootton who said: “We are delighted Mike has agreed to play for us: the wonderful quality of the piano at The Bridge Inn together with this genius jazz musician makes a fantastic partnership.”

In this performance Mike improvises on themes from his musical history with references across the spectrum of genres: jazz classics, pop music and the Blues.

Mike says about the process of arranging music “You don’t have too much respect for the material. You use it. You find harmonies that interest you more than the original. You layer one chord on top of another to make it more magical, or more beautiful, or even to throw a spanner in the works. But it’s not random. It’s logical.”

Describing a Westbrook solo piano event at the Kings Place in London in 2016, jazz journalist Richard Williams writes: “this was a carefully focused performance in an optimum listening environment, in front of a rapt full house. As always with Westbrook, a massive authority was lightly worn, but its presence was never in doubt, and the result was unforgettable.”

Paul Wilson chair of the DAMFS committee said “we’re so excited that this giant of a jazz composer has agreed reveal some of the process and thinking behind his extraordinary work.”

The Piano And Me takes place on Saturday 9 March 2024, starting at 7pm (doors 6.30pm) and running till around 9pm at The Bridge Inn, Bridge Hill, Topsham, Exeter EX3 0QQ.

The bar in the Malthouse shall be open for drinks before and in the interval, but no meals are available in the evening.

Tickets are £13 available from advance booking is essential.

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