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Cool brass
Full track details below
CALA CACD0122 [77:05]

Hot Brass
Full track details below
CALA CACD0123 [73:09]

To celebrate Cala’s 25th anniversary it has released two themed compilation albums sourced from the many discs on its The London Sound marque. Those discs include spectacularly virtuosic recordings from the brass sections and it’s these, specifically, that have been mined for the most popular and satisfying items. The compilations come from The London Trumpet Sound, The London Horn Sound, Give It One, The Sound of Music Jazz Suite, and The London Trombone Sound. So here they are, couched as Hot and Cool, and functioning as showcases for London’s best brass players.

Hot Brass has 15 tracks, full of bravura and adrenalin. Sing, Sing, Sing features some Krupa-era skins but isn’t particularly jazzy as such. Tico Tico gets a fun arrangement courtesy of Roger Harvey, allowing two elite soloists, Frank Lloyd and Richard Bissill, to show their wares. Appropriately, Maynard Ferguson’s Give It One gets a viscerally virtuoso-packed reading, whilst the work of another brass supremo, Arturo Sandoval – Mambo Caliente - is droller. Pop music is taken on by the brass maestri as well. Turn an ear to Eric Crees’ arrangement of Layla before embarking on the splendid sonic adventure that is Bissill’s work on Bohemian Rhapsody. I enjoyed a contemporary work just as much – the neat contrapuntalism enshrined in Gwilym Simcock’s Blues for Hughie - the composer is at the piano stool. Another composer-soloist is Timothy Jackson, whose Three Point Turn stands tall in this selection. An unexpected but very successful realisation is Tony Rickard’s arrangement of Hoedown from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo. There’s a bold and quite up-tempo version of Ellington’s Caravan and, to conclude, 76 trombones – yes, that’s right, 76 – playing 76 Trombones. I’d like to been in the studio for that one. The conductor throughout both these discs is also the artistic director, Geoffrey Simon.

The Cool disc follows a similar pattern of song distribution – Ellington, Rodrigo, some Latin spice, and compositions from some of the soloists. I like Alan Grout’s clever harmonies in Errol Garner’s Misty; Guy Barker is the soloist. Roger Harvey’s most enjoyable Penny Lane arrangement features trumpeter Paul Archibald and it was astute to have taken a rather less well-known Ellington and Strayhorn piece, namely Daydream. Anthony Halstead goes all gully-low and moose-like on Fat Belly Blues, Bissill’s ruefully titled opus though there’s subtle coloration and discreet percussion on his arrangement of Here’s That Rainy Day. I particularly liked Simcock’s winningly subtle arrangement of God Bless the Child, with its undulating brass calls against and behind his own piano. Cool ends with a suite-like Titanic Fantasy, James Horner’s music arranged by the hard-working Bissill.

The track-listing notes the original CD, with full personnel, and also the star soloists. As with many a compilation, there are no notes. If you like the concept of these distillations, you can prepare to be stunned by their sheer virtuosity.

Jonathan Woolf

Track details
Cool Brass; The London Sound
1. Misty - Garner (arr. Gout) [5:51] (The London Trumpet Sound) Guy Barker solo
2. Not Like This - Lubbock (arr. Bissill) [7:00] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) Hugh Seenan, Richard Bissill, Gwilym Simcock soloists
3. Penny Lane - Lennon & McCartney (arr.Harvey) [2:52] (The London Trumpet Sound) Paul Archibald piccolo trumpet
4. Daydream - Ellington & Strayhorn (arr. Rattigan) [4:09] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) David Lee, James Rattigan soloists
5. Fat Belly Blues - Bissill [5:40] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) Anthony Halstead, Gwilym Simcock soloists
6. En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor - Rodrigo (arr. Runswick) [6:07] (The London Trumpet Sound) Maurice Murphy solo flugelhorn
7. Someone To Watch Over Me - Gershwin (arr. Crees) [5:51] (The London Trombone Sound) Richard Edwards solo
8. Edelweiss - Rodgers (arr. Jackson) [3:04] (The Sound of Music Jazz Suite—The London Horn Sound) Jeffrey Bryant, Timothy Jackson soloists
9. Dos Gardenias - Carillo (arr. Payne) [3:09] (The London Trumpet Sound) Mike Lovatt solo
10. The Pink Panther - Mancini (arr. Crees) [3:25] (The London Trombone Sound) Richard Edwards solo 11.
Lana's Lullaby - Jackson [5:28] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) Laurence Davies solo
12. Here's That Rainy Day - van Heusen (arr. Bissill) [5:11] (The London Horn Sound) Richard Bissill solo
13. God Bless The Child - Holiday & Herzog (arr. Simcock) [9:33] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) Richard Bissill, Phillip Eastop, Frank Lloyd,
Gwilym Simcock soloists
14. Titanic Fantasy - Horner (arr. Bissill) [9:23] (The London Horn Sound) Hugh Seenan solo
 
Hot Brass - The London Sound 
1. Sing, Sing, Sing - Prima (arr. Sarcich) [5:23] (The London Trumpet Sound) Mike Lovatt solo
2. Tico Tico - Abreu (arr. Harvey) [4:14] (The London Horn Sound) Frank Lloyd, Richard Bissill soloists
3. Give It One - Ferguson & Downey (arr.Bissill) [3:40] (Give It One -The London Horn Sound) Phillip Eastop, Martin France soloists
4. Mambo Caliente - Sandoval (arr. Rickard) [4:29] (The London Trumpet Sound) Patrick White, Henry Lowther soloists
5. Layla - Clapton and Gordon (arr. Crees) [4:39] (The London Trombone Sound) Richard Edwards solo
6. Los Jaraneros - Bissill [7:23] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) Phillip Eastop, Richard Bissill, Gwilym Simcock soloists
7. Bohemian Rhapsody - Mercury (arr. Bissill) [6:17] (The London Horn Sound) Nigel Black solo
8. The Sound of Music - Rodgers (arr. Jackson) [3:49] (The Sound of Music Jazz Suite—The London Horn Sound) Jeffrey Bryant, Phillip Eastop, Timothy Jackson soloists
9. The Trolley Song - Martin and Blaine (arr. Bissill) [4:26] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) Richard Bissill solo
10. Blues for Hughie - Simcock [7:45] (Give It One) Phillip Eastop, Gwilym Simcock soloists
11. Three Point Turn - Jackson [4:05] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) Frank Lloyd, Timothy Jackson soloists
12. Hoedown - Copland (arr. Rickard) [3:20] (The London Trumpet Sound) Tim Hawes, Paul Archibald, Rod Franks, Robert Farley soloists
13. Caseoso - Rattigan [4:34] (Give It One—The London Horn Sound) Jim Rattigan, Gwilym Simcock soloists
14. Caravan - Ellington (arr. Bissill) [4:23] (The London Horn Sound) Richard Bissill, Jim Rattigan soloists
15. 76 Trombones - Willson (arr. Crees) [4:17] (The London Trombone Sound)

 

 




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