31 London trumpet players, conducted by Geoffrey Simon
Following the success of The London Trumpet Sound Volume One, Cala Records announces the long anticipated release of The London Trumpet Sound, Volume 2. Thirty-one of London's best trumpet players pack this CD with hot trumpet ensemble arrangements including: Mambo Caliente, Dos Gardenias, I Heard it Through the Grape Vine, The Carnival of Venice, Hoedown and more. Personnel for the recording of The London Trumpet Sound include the finest London trumpeters: Maurice Murphy, John Wallace, Paul Archibald, Rod Franks, Roger Webster, Henry Lowther, Murray Greig, Patrick White, Bill Houghton, Tim Hawes, Paul Benniston, Robert Farley, Guy Barker, Anne McAneney, Tony Fisher and others. They perform on every imaginable type of trumpet from cornets, flugel horns and piccolo trumpets to natural and bass trumpets.
"Here it is! The eagerly awaited second volume of a collection of the finest trumpet players in the land, demonstrating their skill with new arrangements of some well-known classics.
This is a project conceived by Cala Records to put virtuoso players of the same instrument together to produce a "uniquely rich and vibrant sound". The next step was to get some talented arrangers and see what evolved.
The sleeve notes are well put together and the brief biographies of each player gives you an impression of what you are about to hear. Hopefully something special. So on to the music.
"Mambo Caliente" by Sandoval starts the disc off at a cracking pace. The solo playing is just great, and the ensemble is tight. Good start!
This is followed by "Dos Gardenias" and it works well. The arrangement is pretty good, but the playing is a little cold, and occasionally the tuning is lacking. This number is a little cheesy, but entertaining for what it is worth.
"I Heard it Through The Grapevine" . Who doesn't like this great tune? Rating a little higher on the cheesy scale, it is still a bit of fun to listen to and some great playing in the higher register. Marvin Gaye it isn't though - just the opening couple of bars tells you that.
"Superman" up next and just like seeing a bloke with his underpants worn ouside a lycra jump suit for the first time - shocked and stunned were the words that came to mind. This wonderful composition should have been left alone. Superman is arranged for 12 trumpets and one timpanist. There is nothing really super about this - Lex Luther would have had a field day. The playing is out of tune, the arrangement just sounds wrong, and the timpanist struggles to keep it balanced. Not even "Supertramp" let alone Lois Lane and good old Christopher Reeves.
The next item up for sale is Amazing Grace. This is the first traditional piece on the disc. This is an interesting arrangement, beautifully introduced by Carl Nielsen on solo cornet. Again, this piece leaves me a little cold, and being increasingly more disappointed with bad tuning.
Now we are talking! Fanfare from Sinfonietta is the only original piece on the disk. This really works. Fantastic and worth waiting for.
The Carnival of Venice is unusually arranged for our brass band ears by Paul Carcich. The solo playing is supplied by John Wallace and the unmistakable Roger Webster. With Italian and Spanish influences, combined with a little humour, this is enjoyable to listen to and brings something with a touch of quirky class to the recording.
Music for the Royal Fireworks arranged by Simon Wright, is the perfect vehicle to show off the groups style. This is some of the best playing on the CD, and leaves the listener wanting more. There is also some spectacularly high piccolo playing that makes your eyes water. It is well arranged for the instrumentation. Good stuff indeed.
Finally - You just knew it had to arrive. No CD is complete without Hoedown from Rodeo. Light entertainment that is played particularly well. The arrangement is great and the enthusiasm for the project actually comes through on this piece.
This is disc is unique; great concepts followed up by some awesome playing. There are little disappointments in the form of consistent poor tuning and some erratic playing throughout the disc, especially for the calibre of player that is present.
There are however many things to appreciate and if you are a brass fanatic or a trumpet connoisseur, this disc is worth having in your collection."
-- Marieka Gray