T-bone concerto: The Kew Band Melbourne with Soloist Brett Baker
T-bone concerto is the title of the main work on this CD from the Kew Band with trombone soloist Brett Baker. This title and CD sleeve also gives a sense of what to expect – musicians of enormous ability and commitment who value coming together to place on record their love of music.
Brett Baker has an impressive reputation internationally, having performed in many part of the world during his long, distinguished career. As a guest player with bands such as Grimethorpe, Fodens YBS and Leyland he has established himself firmly among the great band trombonists and soloists. Importantly for this release, he has a long-standing interest in new music so it is of no surprise to see a number of new works and arrangements on this compilation. The highlights are Concerto by Danish composer Launy Grondahl and T-bone Concerto by Dutch composer Johan de Meij. The arrangements for brass band by Howard Lorriman and Darren Cole of these two technically demanding works characterize the enormous power, warmth, brilliance and technical potential not only of the trombone but for this type of brass ensemble more generally. In each performance, Brett Baker's control of the instrument and artistic insight brings these works to life in a way that will encourage listeners to enjoy many repeated hearings.
Other highlights on the CD include performances of Rhapsody in Blue, the popular song Close to You, and three older favourites O Mio Babbino Caro, Bride of the Waves, and Abide With Me. These are all well-chosen and sure to capture the attention of listeners of all ages and listening preferences.
The Kew Band led by Mark Ford – one of Australia's premier community ensembles – provides a technically and musically satisfying accompaniment for every work on the CD. I particularly warmed to the variety of shadings in the performances, the wide dynamic control, and the fluid, controlled playing throughout the entire ensemble. The quality of the CD recording (completed over a couple of days in August, 2011) is also magnificent.
Without any doubt, this is a release that deserves to attract large sales and sit on the shelves of all who enjoy brass bands both here in Australia and overseas.
Ormond Professor and Director,
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
The University of Melbourne, Australia