Metz, 24th April 2002
April in Paris - well, Metz actually - on the banks of the river Moselle, spring flowers everywhere, potted and in parterres, beautifully designed flowerbeds, their fragrance on the mild, sunny air. Venturing into the old town we perceive the wafting aroma of brioches and croissants, the tempting displays of petits fours and baguettes. Our destination, Les Trinitaires, is verging on a cobblestoned square, towered by two slim spires of a church, tinged with the lucidity of young foliage and enlivened by the sprawling tables of a café, offering relaxation and a pre-concert drink.
Les Trinitaires, a venue of 37 years standing, takes us downstairs into rooms with vaulted ceilings which speak of a history of roman baths and medieval cloisters. The room fronting the stage seats some seventy audience and, through a wide arch, there is extra seating in the adjacent bar.
The programme of "The Lift" promises glimpses into the life of the Trio in twenty years of geographical and musical travel. Indeed the lyrics reveal the sometimes strange, often humorous and hitherto untold adventures of the Trio. Adventures intriguingly outlined as "Wild Cyclamen North of Rome", "Duisburg Monsters", "Lunar Eclipse Over Western Australia", "Thessaloniki Silver Screen", "Aggro-Vancouver-Desperado". - Whew, let your imagination play on those titles alone!
Equally unheard of is the music, in no way a mere revisiting of twenty years gone by. It is breaking new ground. Compositions, arrangements, ideas: all up-to-the-minute.
We who have awaited Kate Westbrook to pick up the horn again are catered for to our hearts fill. Chris Biscoes reeds, Mike Westbrooks tuba and Kate Westbrooks tenor horn combine to transport the listener and to build structures balancing and linking the vocal and solo instrumental parts. Mike Westbrooks inventive opening tuba on "Monsters" and a lively free style forte on piano were other highlights integrated quite of course in this comprehensive performance. Eventually: an almost surreal canvas dipped in blue by a klieg, picking out Kate Westbrook with one hand operating the horn, with the other plucking the strings in the grand piano.
Those who stayed for a drink in the bar afterwards were treated to a surprise series of encores, among them such favourites as "September Song" and the persistently reinvented showpiece for improvisation and daring by both Kate Westbrook and Chris Biscoe: "Love For Sale".
As does the "Love For Sale" album this will doubtlessly stand as another in a series of pillars of this highly successful collaboration, The Westbrook Trio.