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Slick and fun

The London trumpet sound

Cala    CACD0113

The London Trumpet Sound, Volume One. © 2002 Cala Records

'Ten in the morning, a new group, the first session, a commercial studio. Too soon for magic -- it would take at least a day to get it going. But when Geoffrey Simon brought down the baton for the first read-through of Misty [listen -- track 2, 0:00-0:58], Guy Barker and his fourteen colleagues showed it was already there ...'

So writes Paul Sarcich in the CD booklet for The London Trumpet Sound, Volume One.

Not normally drawn to compilations or gimmick recordings (101 favourite heckelphone classics volume 23 and the like), I was in danger of missing this little feast, impressive from the very first note because it's both slick and fun, and the playing is top-notch.

For each of these wide-ranging arrangements [listen -- track 4, 0:48-1:20], ensembles of up to twenty musicians are hand-picked by John Wallace and Roy Bilham from a group of twenty seven top London trumpet players -- the list is practically a who's who of the UK brass world, and there's also a superstar percussion section.

I don't know if Simon Eadon used any post-processing, but it would have been possible (with sessions at both BBC Maida Vale Studio 3 and St Jude-on-the-Hill, London) to choose a natural acoustic to suit each piece. The sound is mostly crisp, dry, forward and exciting (suggesting the BBC Maida Vale Studio 3 sessions), but with more space and a deeper sound in evidence occasionally, such as in the Mozart.

The whole enterprise seems to be switched-on financially, too, with corporate sponsors, CD booklet advertising, exclusive availability of scores and parts for the specially-produced arrangements, and (no doubt with one eye on the international market) a blockbusting American finale (Stars and Stripes here [listen -- track 9, 2:30-3:28], but volume two, if you can believe it, ends with an arrangement of the 'Hoedown' from Copland's Rodeo). If this all resulted in a paid jolly for players, arrangers and Cala staff then so much the better, but it must have been hard work too.

Don't miss two extra music samples (in MP3 format) currently on the Cala Records homepage, by the way -- John Humphries' version of the Rondo Alla Turca and Sarcich's gorgeous arrangement of Sing, Sing, Sing by Prima which opens the disc.

Copyright © 1 March 2003 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK


The London Trumpet Sound Vol 1

CACD0113 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 44'06" 2002 Cala Records Ltd

Mike Lovatt, solo trumpet; Guy Barker, solo trumpet; Paul Archibald, solo piccolo trumpet; Robert Farley, solo natural trumpet; Maurice Murphy, solo flugelhorn; trumpet ensemble: Tony Adie; Bryan Allen, Paul Archibald, Guy Barker, Paul Benniston, Roy Bilham, Martin Bunce, Robert Farley, Tony Fisher, Rod Franks, Murray Greig, Simon Gunton, Tim Hawes, William Houghton, Mike Lovatt, Henry Lowther, Anne McAneny, Maurice Murphy, Paul Newton, Brian Raby, Tim Smart, John Wallace, James Watson, Roger Webster, Patrick White, Simon Wills, Adam Wright; John Horler, piano; Mitch Dalton, guitar; Roy Babbington, bass and electric bass; Jim Richardson, electric bass; drums: Harold Fisher, Mike Smith; percussion: Colin Currie, Anthony Kerr, Gary Kettel, Neil Percy, Sam Walton; Russell Jordan, timpani; Geoffrey Simon, conductor

Prima arr Paul Sarcich: Sing, Sing, Sing; Garner arr Alan Gout: Misty; Trad arr Andrew Crowley: Jarabe Tapatio (Mexican Hat Dance); Lennon/McCartney arr Roger Harvey: Penny Lane; Clarke arr Simon Wright: The Prince of Denmark's March; Mozart arr John Humphries: Rondo Alla Turca; Rossini arr Paul Archibald: The Thieving Magpie Overture; Rodrigo arr Daryl Runswick: Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez; Sousa arr Richard Payne: The Stars and Stripes Forever





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