Summon the Rhythm Brett Baker Trombone with Leyland Band Conducted by Howard J Evans – Reviewed for Trombonist by Bob Hughes 2011

Leyland Band; Howard J Evans

Label: Polyphonic

Cat. No.: QPRZ027D

Brett Baker must be one of the UK's most industrious and most recorded solo trombonists. He has commissioned over 50 works for solo trombone, six of which are featured on this album, which comprises recordings of mainly light solos. If you are looking for some ideas for trombone features to play with your own band, then look no further.

The CD takes its title from the closing track, Summon The Rhythm by Tom Davoren, yet another commission from Baker. This piece takes its inspiration from Shamanism and is in four continuous sections, closing with a rousing tango. On the other hand Capriccio by Philip Sparke is a bright, energetic opener to the CD. Baker commissioned this as a tribute to the recording engineer, Mike Moor, who, judging by the character of the music, must have been a very enthusiastic character with a twinkle in his eye.

There are two large-scale works on this CD. Excursions by Marc Owen is a series of nine short, contrasting vignettes influenced by Owen's travels around the UK. Imaginatively written this piece demands attention and is a real work out for the trombonist. Darrol Barry's Trombone Concerto is a première recording. The first movement of this substantial composition is dynamic and rhythmic. It is followed by a haunting second movement in an English pastoral style. The third shows off Baker's fine musicianship and flawless technique in an optimistic conclusion.

Further tracks on this CD include Scene From The Silver Plate by Peter Meechan, which was originally composed for Chris Houlding and is heavily influenced by traditional Argentinean music. Bill Geldard's beautifully crafted arrangement of Song of India features some silky smooth playing from Baker, reminiscent of the great Don Lusher. Other tunes on the album that showcase the more lyrical side of Baker's playing are Someone Cares (Ray Steadman-Allen), Sweet Nightingale (Goff Richards), Evergreen (Leonard and Streisand arr. Ashmore) and Why Did I Chose You (arr. Ray Farr).

A couple of misprints in the booklet and a slight error with the final track numbers do little to detract from a highly entertaining CD with Baker in top form, sympathetically accompanied by The Leyland Band conducted by Howard J. Evans.

Bob Hughes

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