Mike Westbrook OrchestraMetropolis

Label:RCA – NE 10, Neon (3) – NE 10, Neon (3) – NE.10
Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Genre:Jazz, Rock
Style:Big Band, Contemporary Jazz, Prog Rock


A1Part I
A2Part II
A3Part III
A4Part IV
B1Part V
B2Part VI
B3Part VII
B5Part IX

Companies, etc.



Gatefold cover with black inner sleeve
Recorded at Landsdowne Studios, London, August 3rd, 4th, 5th, 1971.

Sleeve printed and made by Howards Printers (Slough) Ltd.

(C) 1971 RCA Limited
Made in England

First on label, second on back cover and spine.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side A, variant 1): AGBS0688-1E A1E
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side B, variant 1): AGBS0688-2E A1J
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, stamped (A1A etched), variant 2): AGBS0688-1E A1A
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, stamped (A1K etched), variant 2): AGBS0688-2E A1K
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, stamped (A1F etched), variant 3): AGBS0688-1E A1F
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, stamped (A1K etched), variant 3): AGBS0688-2E A1L

Other Versions (5 of 12)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
New Submission
Metropolis (LP, Album, Gatefold)RCARCA-6060Japan1972
New Submission
Metropolis (LP, Album, Promo, Gatefold)RCARCA-6060Japan1972
Recently Edited
Metropolis (CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered, Sound Performance Pressing)BGO RecordsBGOCD454UK1999
New Submission
Metropolis (CD, Album, Limited Edition, Reissue, Remastered)Sony Records Int'lSICJ 324Japan2017
New Submission
Metropolis (LP, Album, Reissue, Gatefold)Music On Vinyl, RCA, Neon (3)MOVLP2206Europe2018



  • PhillipAdams's avatar
    No reviews of Metropolis to date, so I'll summarize Mike Westbrook's music up to this point, for anyone wanting to know or interested.

    Celebration is British big band jazz at its best - see individual reviews for that LP, but it is of its time. Release and the two Marching Songs LPs are a little more edgy/experimental with 25-piece big band on Marching Songs - I'd hold off on those two until after you hear the other records that come immediately afterwards.

    Love Songs is probably most peoples' favorite, with Norma Winstone and Chris Spedding on guitar and a simpler, more accessible, warmer sound - this is the one to get first. Lovely early 1970's feel - THE record to play someone who's new to UK jazz from this time, to see if they want to listen to other records of a similar style - and there are some great classics now easily available as reissues - many with Norma Winstone's singing (and there's always her 1972 solo - Edge of Time - to explore the musical boundaries a bit more).

    Metropolis revives the 25 person big band personnel of Marching Songs, with a very accessible but complex jazz rock, almost jazz funk on some pieces. I'd love to know what those time signatures are, but the music flows on beautifully - no abstract, free-form jerkiness here. More musically complex than Love Songs, a much fuller sound with a big city sophisticated and professional feel about it, as the title would suggest.

    I prefer Metropolis to Soft Machine's Third or Fourth and the first two Nucleus LPs as early 1970s cutting-edge UK jazz/jazz-rock - it's like another variation of the style. It doesn't push the musical boundaries quite as much as those two bands, but it's all beautifully played. Nucleus would go on to make some fine, complex jazz-rock/funk LPs in mid-70s. Metropolis LP would also appeal to those listeners, who probably don't go for the more experimental/challenging side of UK jazz. It's the one to get after Love Songs. The two LPs complement each other in their different approaches, and both get it right.

    Guitar (Gary Boyle) and vocals (barely noticeable Norma Winstone) are drowned out by all the other playing going on here, but it doesn't matter. This record would also appeal to prog rock fans who like some complexity (eg King Crimson circa Larks Tails, Starless, Red), or maybe VDGG if you're OK with Peter Hammill's singing (I certainly am), but who have yet to dip their toe into the pool of complex UK jazz-rock crossover records from early 1970s - this is a good one to get for the more jazzy end of things. I love the experimental, pushing-the-boundaries vibe that so much great music from early 1970s has. This is a key UK jazz LP for that, and one of the more accessible/listenable ones.

    The LP after this, Tyger, is also great in its own way (and as rare as Love Songs in its original pressing), but you may struggle with the whole show-bizzy vibe and full-of-themselves singers on that one. I'll take it over the Who's Tommy, though! It's a little irritating, but great art, nonetheless. Get Tyger after the other early Westbrook records, if you're still wanting to hear more.


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