The audience at Regent Hall was treated to a superlative recital given by trombonist Brett Baker and his excellent accompanist Elliot Launn. In deference to the venue, they included many items with links to The Salvation Army in their varied programme.
They opened with Erik Leidzen's 'Concertino'; its full title of 'Concertino for Band and Trombone 'indicative of the importance of the accompaniment. Whilst understandably missing the tone colours of the original, Elliot's accomplished played contributed greatly to the effectiveness of the performance.
'Leona Polka' was named after Sousa's daughter, and was a period gem from the pen of Leo Zimmermann. The soloist negotiated the increasingly challenging variations with a virtuosic aplomb, before showing considered contrast with Dorothy Gates' bossa nova style setting of 'His Provision', Howard Evans' take on the Scottish melody 'Iona Boat Song' and Jimmy Schultz's unusual arrangement of William Himes' 'All that I Am'.
Peter Graham, a former Bandmaster at Regent Hall, wrote 'The Guardian' for his brother Paul. A challenging work, with a tranquil setting of 'Jesus Loves Me' at its core, the duo carried it off with classy polish. The encore was an exquisite rendition of 'The wee small hours' to bring a wonderful hour of music-making to a close.
Brett, whose informative introductions contributed greatly to the success of the recital, spoke of the influence of Don Lusher, himself a product of Peterborough Citadel Corps. His touching homage with Don's composition, 'DL Blues', exploited the upper range of the instrument to great effect, the use of mutes adding to the tonal variety.
The inclusion of Gordon Langford's 'Rhapsody for Trombone', written for Lusher in the 1970s and premiered by him at the Royal Albert Hall remains a core standard of any soloist’s repertoire bag. Here Brett produced an excellent account; zesty fresh with its varied moods, tempered technique and stylish control.
The encore was an exquisite rendition of 'The wee small hours' to bring a wonderful hour of music-making to a close.