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Superbrass

Dora Stoutzker Hall
RWCMD
Cardiff
Sunday 10th November

stars
The short but hugely inspirational musical tenancy of the Superbrass Ensemble at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff was rounded off with this splendidly joyful Sunday afternoon concert.

Despite the occasional leg stretch moments to re-acquaint themselves with the cohesive needs of some of the repertoire on show (and to welcome a couple of new faces into the ranks such as Tom Hutchinson, David Childs and Owen Farr), compere/bass trombone Roger Argente and the gang soon found their relaxed groove.

After that it was down to the business of entertaining the packed hall with items for their two CD album releases - ‘The Spell of Spain’ and ‘Brass Taps’.   

Virtuoso stuff

It was virtuoso stuff; an exotic tapas board of meaty Iberian delights interspersed with a few other tasty mouthfuls from around the globe - although the opening item came from four RWCMD brass students playing Wagner tubas on ‘Ride of the Valkyrie’ (a thank you for a generous donation to the college).
 
Style oozed from the stage like a bowlful of gazpacho soup - rich and powerful to oily smooth; cool as ice one moment hot enough to fry garlic the next, all backed by the subtle percussion work led by Mike Skelton on kit which enabled the frontmen to swing, swagger, bop, bossa and funk to their heart’s content.

Style oozed from the stage like a bowlful of gazpacho soup - rich and powerful to oily smooth; cool as ice one moment hot enough to fry garlic the next

Appreciation

Mike Lovatt (‘Red Vest Man’) and Gordon Campbell (‘Donde el Mar Saluda al Cielo’) took the main solo spotlights (although there were generous segues to allow Tom Hutchinson and David Childs to shine) as works by Manuel Penella and Tomas Luis de Victoria contrasted with Afro-American spirituals and Spanish baroque – each delivered with such an informed appreciation of line, phrase and dynamic shape. 

Hearing a little excerpt played by Phil Cobb or the delicacy of the tuba work of Dan Trodden was an added bonus on an afternoon that was over far too quickly.  

Iwan Fox

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