City of Bradford Brass
Conductor: Lee Skipsey
Total Playing Time: Approx 60 mins
Hard work may well make you prosperous, but unless you have the talent to back it up, it will never quite give you ultimate satisfaction.
You are reminded of that with this highly enjoyable debut release from City of Bradford Brass – a band that may have enjoyed a rich heritage but will certainly benefit from a vibrant future under the baton of one of the movement’s most gifted grafters, former Black Dyke percussionist Lee Skipsey.
Previously known as YBS Concert Brass, the once proud outfit was saved from a resting place in the banding graveyard thanks to the skill and determination of a core of players and an MD who combined the work ethic of Yorkshire colliers to the creative talents of a musical Vidal Sassoon.
The result has been a vibrant rejuvenation that now sees Bradford boast a National title, a new home and a CD release that showcases their solo and ensemble qualities to the full: Satisfaction for the listener is guaranteed.
Passion and commitment
The passion and commitment pours out from every track; the hatful of slickly played arrangements and originals giving the MD plenty of licence to add a touch of bouffant gloss to the end product every bit as eye catching as any new hairdo that comes out of the door of his own Bradford hair salon.
There is an intelligent musical brain at work here – shaping and moulding the music with intuitive flexibility, whilst the players (many with extensive top class experience) respond with warm tonality and secure technique.
Balanced and tight
The result is playing on all 14 tracks that’s detailed, balanced and as tight as any snare drum the MD has hit in his career.
From the opening march, 'Simoraine' to the closing hymn tune, ‘How Sweet the Name’ the ensemble never overpowers leading solo lines, whilst the command of the differing genres from ‘The Holy Well’ to ‘Satin Doll’, Dolly Parton to Leonard Ballantine is as good as many a top level Championship outfit.
Taking centre stage is the live performance of the Third Section National Final set work, ‘Darkness Visible' that saw the band crowned champion in Cheltenham in 2011.
Richard Grantham's metaphorical musical journey from darkness into light is full of drama and pathos, with the MD drawing subtle strands of colours and texture from the complex score aided by some wonderful solo work – with principal cornet Tim Poole on superb form.
Elsewhere, all the band’s featured soloists deliver musical contributions that draw you in as a listener; with Bill Whelan's 'Caoineadh Ch'u Chulainin' featuring Stephen McGowan on the penny whistle a real treat.
'Illuminate' is an apt title for a band that has already made a real impression on the Yorkshire and national banding scene, and is intent on being a shining light for a long time yet to come:
Hard work and talent has seen to that.
What's on this CD?
1. Simoraine, Barraclough
2. Excelsior, Bright
3. Don't Doubt Him Now, Ballantine/Reynolds, arr. Craig Woodland
4. Darkness Visible, Grantham
5. Hello Dolly!, Herman, arr. Howe
6. The Holy Well, Peter Grantham
7. Satin Doll, Ellington/Strayhorn, arr. Kerwin
8. JFK, Williams, arr. Fernie
9. A Fanfare of Praise, Redhead
10. Caoineadh CHU' Chulainn, Whelan, arr. McGowan/Skipsey
11. Nine to Five, Dolly Parton, arr Ocean
12. The Mission, Morricone, arr, Bernaerts
13. Home of Legends, Lovatt-Cooper
14. How Sweet The Name (French), Tremain, arr. Osgood
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