Thursday, 13 April 2017

Brett Baker has produced 25 solo CDs and commissioned 100 compositions for the trombone. He has played at the top end of brass banding for nearly 25 years and has established a reputation as and continues to be, one of the finest trombone players of our time. In this CD he has put together a variety of solos ranging from big band, jazz classics, showy solos and serious works for the instrument.

The title piece, Radio City, as the title suggests, represents an American radio programme with a narrative that sets the scene for the various sections which include a jazzy piece, a Glen Miller style interlude and a hectic gallop at the Kentucky Derby.

Embraceable You and Autumn Leaves are given the Lusheroso treatment, Bolivar gives a taste of the Latin and Mr Sandman a bit of novelty. Three solos, Sea Shells Waltz, Brave, and Leona Polka, reminiscent of Arthur Prior of Sousa fame, are excellent.

The two marches, Leidzen’s On the King’s Highway and Sousa’s Washington Post, arranged for trombone quartet and quintet respectively, are interesting but not convincing.

Rob Wiffin’s Trombone Concerto is a musical gem both for soloist and band. It is in three movements. The first has a lyrical section which leads into a spirited allegro. The second is slow in tempo and cantabile in style with some beautiful melodic moments. The final movement is lighter in style with a slight jazz influence. The work is challenging in respect of technique, style and range both for soloist and band.

As one has come to expect from Brett Baker the playing is impeccable throughout and serves as an object lesson to trombone players whatever their performance level. The band’s contribution is of a high standard throughout.

The 12 page insert is full of interesting reading. There is a two page extended CV detailing the soloist’s career as performer, clinician and educator and his involvement with youth bands in this country and abroad.  The programme notes by Brett Baker are interesting and informative. There is brief historical information about the band, Nicholas Childs and the quartet and quintet.

This CD will interest brass band enthusiasts and in particular trombonists from all genders.

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