Fly me to the Moon Brett Baker & Paul Woodward – Reviewed by Kenneth Crookson British Bandsman 2009

Billed in the inlay booklet as a celebration of the trombone and of trombone playing in the brass band movement, this CD features Black Dyke Band's four trombonists, Brett Baker, Paul Woodward, Garry Reed and Adrian Hirst, in an eclectic programme that does actually provide something for almost every taste in trombone playing, although there is a fairly strong religious theme throughout the disc.

It begins with a well-balanced reading of Leslie Condon's march, Celebration, played by the Black Dyke Trombone Quartet, which is followed by a tasteful performance of Michel Legrande's The Summer Knows by Brett Baker. A traditional theme-and-variations duet follows, featuring the above two soloists in H.W. Glazier's Shall We Win, which is beautifully accompanied on the piano by Howard Evans.

After Paul Woodward's rendition of Now I Belong to Jesus, the quartet gives an accomplished reading of Telemann's challenging Concerto A4, a work that allows each of the participants a chance to show their individual styles.

The next two pieces feature Brett Baker๏ฟฝ at his best as the soloist in Mercadante's Salve Maria, and along with Garry Reed in George Marshall's Glorious Fountain, again in the theme and variations idiom that appears to suit the style of both players.

Erik Leidzen's A Never Failing Friend provides Paul Woodward's main work on the disc and he carries off the technical challenges of this piece in some style. God So Loved the World by Sir John Stainer receives a nicely restrained performance by the Quartet, before Brett Baker introduces the listener to The Conqueror by the little-known composer, Jacques Lafont. It's described in the programme notes as a charming addition to the trombone repertoire and that's exactly the impression left by the soloist.

The prize for the most intriguing title goes to Michael Davis's Trombone Institute of Technology, a short work performed by Paul Woodward and Adrian Hirst, in which the soloists demonstrate outstanding flexibility. Woodward is again at his best in Ivor Bosanko's The Wonder of His Grace, after which there is another change of style in Gospel Time, in which the quartet is joined by Lee Skipsey on drums. Paul Woodward is again featured in the lovely Covenant before the title track, Fly Me to the Moon, played by the quartet in some style.

Finally, the British Trombone Society Choir gives an enthusiastic and accomplished account of the finale from Saint Saens Organ Symphony, which rounds off this enjoyable disc rather nicely.


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