Last month Brett Baker returned to the UK after being guest soloist at James Madeson Universities “Tromblow’in” with students and community trombone players from around the region of Virginia, USA. Previous guests to the festival included Michael Davis, Wycliffe Gordon and Christopher Bill. This year’s performers included the JMU Trombone Choir, Trombonistas por Puerto Rico, the JMU brass band and the massed trombone choir from the festival. In the gala concert Brett featured pieces from his previous CD ‘Contrasts’ and included the work with the same name from Jan Van der Roost. Other pieces included Stephen Roberts’, ‘Trombango’ and the ever-popular ‘Rhapsody for Trombone’ by Gordon Langford. Brett also gave a clinic and listened to finalists taking part in the concerto competition that month and enjoyed meeting up with students of the JMU’s brass band conducted by Kevin Stees and the Universities trombone Professor Andy Lankford.
Jan Van der Roost’s major Concerto “Contrasts” also features in a CD release for the first time with “Toccata Next”. This is an exciting new label affiliated with Toccata Classics and distributed by Naxos. This album, which will be the third album of four new “Toccata Next” releases, is to be called ‘Outrageous Fortune’. This is the title of a new work written for Brett by composer Nigel Clarke subtitled ‘Symphony Number 2 for Trombone, Voice Actor and Wind Ensemble’. The piece was premiered in 2017 with the Middle Tennessee Wind Ensemble in Murfreesboro, USA and was subsequently then recorded at the end of 2017 with Brett and the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble in Manchester. Both performances were conducted by MTSU’s Professor of Music and Conducting, Dr Reed Thomas who was very much part of the whole CD project.
Brett commented “Nigel Clarke put me in touch with Reed Thomas when he finished composing his amazing Symphony no. 2 for me in 2016. I visited MTSU in 2016 to record Hyldgaard’s ‘Rapsodia Borealis’ to see if we could get the project to work. Reed and I hit it off immediately and have remained firm friends ever since. Over the past two years I visited a further three times to record Nigel’s piece and then Jim Stephenson’s ‘Concerto Braziliano’. Stephenson’s work has been a very popular piece played by trombonists in the USA, however it has never received a studio recording, so I was excited to be the first to premiere the studio version of this substantial work by a leading composer. The last piece on this album recorded back in October 2018, was Jan Van der Roosts ‘Contrasts’ – a piece that has already received rave reviews from those that have listened to the brass band version of this work.”
This solo CD of four major works for the instrument with a fantastic University wind ensemble is to be released in the UK on 1st March this year and then in the rest of the world a week later.