Review of Rathamataz
David Mathie Boise State University
This CD showcases two excellent musical forces with Black Dyke Band and it impressive principal trombonist Brett Baker. There is a variety of styles featured; an opera aria, two Pryor showpieces, quite a bit of jazz and two new works by Andrew Duncan and Derek Bourgeois that are important additions to the repertoire. These two works-Rathamataz and Concertino-were both commissioned by Baker and are well -suited to his extended range and impressive technique. Duncan's eleven minute work is a concerto in miniature with a strong jazz influence; there are some interesting sections that allow the trombone to share the stage with other principals (in particular there is a wonderful trombone/euphonium duet). Bourgeois ‘s piece is not at all like his more familiar concerto; i is a wild, almost angry piece in the style of his earlier test piece Blitz.
Both Pryor works are played in the modern style (big sound, extended range) with a nice sense of rubato and pacing, while the accompaniment well to full brass band. The ballads (Porgy, Alfie, A time for Peace, Phoenix) are rich, smooth but a bit square to this listeners' taste. DL Blues give the band's trombone section, especially the excellent un-named bass trombonist, a chance to shine with the soloist and reminds us of how good the band's low brass section is.
Baker is a fine player with a rich, full tone in the Denis Wick tradition. The sound is well balanced with the Soloist placed quite forward in the mix, and the Black Dyke Band is superb; the upper cornets are so graceful that one almost gets the sense we are at times listening to a woodwind section. Euphonium virtuoso and conductor Nicholas Childs deserves much credit for his preparation and sympathetic accompanying. The liner notes are excellent with a good balance of background information on the composers as well as the trombonists involved in their composition.