Joined by Ian Porterhouse and accompanied by The Flowers Band. Released 1999.
It's not often you get a specialised CD release of two of the UK's leading brass soloists playing an eclectic mix of old and new solo compositions, but this is a welcome and very enjoyable undertaking.
Both Brett Baker and Ian Porthouse have garnered well deserved reputations as soloists, and this CD confirms their current standing at the very top of a very competitive tree. Not only are there a number of new compositions, but both soloists take the risk of exploring unconventional areas.
Thus Ian Porthouse is heard very impressively playing flugel, Eflat and piccolo trumpets as well as displaying his usual impeccable cornet playing, whilst Brett extends himself to the limits with new and challenging works from Rodney Newton and Paul Lovatt-Cooper. The disappointment is that with two talented soloists there is only the one duet by Robin Dewhurst.
Flowers Band are well directed by a trio of conductors and provide sympathetic accompaniment throughout, whilst the standard of recording is high. Congratulations to producer Philip Sparke and his engineer Michael Moor who have kept the acoustics clean and dry which gives the listener the chance to concentrate on the soloists and not the band. A nice front cover to the CD by the band's baritone player Carolyn Chandler and some excellent sleeve notes are appreciated.
The music is varied, with “Twister” by Paul Lovatt-Cooper and Newton's “Dick Turpin's Ride to York” welcome solo additions for the trombone and Arthur Pryor's “Love's Enchantment” giving ample opportunity for Brett Baker to cover a classic variation solo from years gone by.
Ian Porthouse gives a commanding performance of James Curnow's “Concertpiece for Cornet”, but it's his command of the flugel and piccolo which is so pleasing – class playing throughout.