Faith Encounter Brett Baker (Trombone) with Boscombe Band of the Salvation Army – Review by Michael Davison 2009

If you like inspirational brass band music, this recording is for you. The CD offers fourteen tracks. Seven feature Baker as soloist and seven showcase the brass band alone. Program notes are included in the CD jacket. The band performs very well throughout the tracks on this CD, displaying precise, controlled playing, fine gradations in dynamic and timbrai shading, and great musical gestures. Bandmaster Evans knows his craft. The stand-alone band features Intrada: To a Cod like This and Festival Prelude: Ellacombe, which are worth the purchase price. The Name rollicks along nicely, thank you. This is a fine British brass band.

For trombonists, on this CD Brett Baker is undoubtedly the icing on the cake. Appearing as guest soloist with the band, he offers solid performances in a variety of styles. It is perhaps a cliche to use the word “effortless” when describing a musical performance, but Baker's playing simply sounds this way. His musicianship and command of cantabile is showcased in Whisper a Little Prayer. His performance on the ballad My Ship is quite stunning. Faith Encounter, Flourish for Trombone, and Iona Boat Song further highlight Baker' s strong playing. His sound has great presence and resonance in all registers. His technical facility is equally impressive.

The style in Up Yonder! seems a bit forced at times, as if the band is not quite comfortable in this idiom. This track is the weakest on the CD. At times the upper brasses use more pointed articulations than does Baker on My Ship, creating minor stylistic problems. Nevertheless, these are minor issues and should not discourage anyone from purchasing this fine recording.

Michael Davidson

University of Kansas

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