T-Bone Concerto Brett Baker (Trombone) with Kew Band – Reviewed by James T Decker for the ITA Journal

Virtuosity, roance, drama, sentimentality; all these moods are effectively evoked in one of the latest CDs released by Brett Baker, entitled T-BONE CONCERTO. This recording is a great mixture of works from the standard solo trombone repertoire, turn-of-the-century brass showpieces, the opera world, and commercial standards.

Brett Baker performs this diverse repertoire with great command and dexterity. He shows his technical mastery through such pieces as Bride of the waves and Atlantic Zephyrs, where all articulations are clear and the playing had great excitement, flexibility, and energy. He presents a beautiful sound and wide spectrum on tone colour, always appropriate to the composition.

It is unique to hear the trombone featured as the solo in Rhapsody in Blue. Baker plays with a clear sound and muscial assertiveness that easily sets his solo voice apart from the Kew Band. His multiple tonguing sparkles and the lyrical playing is silky smooth and sweet.

Other distinctive arrangements on this recording include Close to You as a samba and the lyrical, yet swinging version of Unforgettable. Noteworthy aspects of Close to You include special modulations and the persistent drive of the percussion and entire Kew Band. Both the soloist and ensemble demonstrate a warm, rich sound in Unforgettable, together with a confidence and ease in all registers.

The Kew Band Melbourne, one of Australias leading brass bands, it quite versatile, sensitive, rhythmically precise, and has a beautiful ensemble sound. The fluid techncial passages and uniformity of ensemble are showcased on all the works on this CD

The performances of the title composition, the T-Bone Concerto by Johan de Meij, and the Concerto by Launy Grondahl are both very secure and yet executived with varying degress of colour and nuance.

This recording by Brett Baker and the Kew band contains many great additions to the trombone solo repertoire as well as beautiful renditions of the perennial favorites.

James T Decker – Texas Tech University

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