11 Songs, 52 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

3.5 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

jazzkeysfan ,

Reviewed by Dr Robert Childs

Wellington Brass Band's latest CD release is called Renaissance and Musical Director Mr David Bremner describes it as a celebration of the musical journey the band has taken over the past five years.

The repertoire is eclectic and features some fine solo playing by Mark Davey (trombone) David Chalk (euphonium) Trevor Bremner (cornet) and Byron 'Buzz' Newton (euphonium) the latter of which is currently studying with the writer and has made a huge impact on Welsh Brass Banding since his arrival last year!

During the course of producing Renaissance the Band has hosted more than 60 outstanding New Zealand musicians all of which are listed in the comprehensive sleeve notes.

From the moment you set eyes on the album its obvious that this recording is special. The front cover, 12-page booklet and on-body printing of the CD is in full colour and designed with imagination and subtlety by Andrew Weir. The product really encourages the consumer to like it before you hear a note of music.

Having been enticed to listen to the music by the marketing of Rata Records this listener was not disappointed. From the opening march The Wellingtonian which is played with tight ensemble and well disciplined dynamics to the sheer technical prowess demonstrated in the title track Renaissance by Peter Graham, I was impressed.

Stylistically the band shows great versatility and flexibility moving from Downey's tranquil In Perfect Peace to the jazzier numbers such as Malaguena, Star Dust and Satchmo without batting an eye-lid.

Nevertheless the solo contributions are a real highlight for me. Brillante was originally written for myself and Brother Nicholas to play at a concert celebrating 100 years of the British Bandsman magazine. David Chaulk plays both parts with consummate ease. Byron Newton's rendition of Philip Sparke's Harlequin is exquisite; he demonstrates sensitivity in the slow section and a devilish technique in the allegro finale. Mark Davey reminded me of the smooth crooning sound of the late and great Don Lusher as he glided through Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust. I guess most people tend to leave the best till last and I'm no exception. I have heard Trevor Bremner playing live on many occasions and his reputation speaks volumes for the many great solo performances he has delivered over the years. However, I was knocked out to hear him play Satchmo so stylistically and musically perfect.

This is a cracking CD.

My congratulations to all concerned in its production.
I look forward to hearing your next release and I wish you all the very best for your future music making.

Dr Robert Childs