CD review: Metropolis

Atlantic Brass Band
Conductor: Salvatore Scarpa
Soloists: Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, Carl Ball, Joe Sino, Jack Deal, Amy Schumaker Bliss, William Gregory
CD: SKU: 798577113727


Atlantic Brass Band has been the quiet achiever of the American banding scene. 

A consistent domestic top flight performer under Salvatore Scarpa’s elegant baton since 2011, they won the North American BBA National title for a third time and the US Open accolade for the first, in 2017.

In 2018 they came runner-up at NABBA National Championship before embarking on an ambitious UK tour that saw them showcase both their entertainment and test-piece talents at Brass in Concert and the Scottish Open, where they impressed with their musical endeavour.

Dystopian inspired

Here they present 16 works – including the title track and winning 2017 NABBA performance. Peter Graham’s dystopian inspired composition is boldly delivered; its complexities mirroring that of the fantasy Metropolis city on the CD cover - dark and menacing.

Elsewhere we hear finely-tailored performances of familiar repertoire: All are stylish and considered - from the opening ‘Overture to a Fanfare’ to the penultimate ‘Ticket to Ride’, with informed renditions of ‘The Day thou Gavest’, ‘Knight Templar’ and ‘The Shepherd’s Song’ in between. ‘Desde Argentiba, con Amor’ in particular is slick and classy. 

The soloists are on confident form - each showcasing artistry and refinement; from the panache of ‘Glorious Ventures’ and sparkling exuberance of ‘Dance Zeibekikos’, to the cultured relaxation of ‘Share My Yolk’ and the duet ‘Meditation’. ‘An Untold Story’ and ‘The Higher Plane’ do not fall short either.

Here they present 16 works – including the title track and winning 2017 NABBA performance. Peter Graham’s dystopian inspired composition is boldly delivered; its complexities mirroring that of the fantasy Metropolis city on the CD cover - dark and menacing.

Hylton Legacy

However, it’s the trio of ‘Hylton Legacy’ works that leave the lasting impression.  

Hylton rose to prominence in the UK in the British dance band era; gaining the moniker ‘The Ambassador’ due to his extensive touring commitments, which included a stateside visit in the 1930s.  

The three are compact crackers – from the furious Latin beat of ‘Hylton in the Hall’ and the trombone led ‘Hylton’s Bear Bones’, to the clever ‘Jack Meets Joshua’, inspired by ‘Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.’ 

Well chosen, well informed and well delivered – just like the overall impression you are left with on hearing this release  

Dr. Jim Fox

To purchase: http://www.atlanticbrassband.org/product-page/metropolis

The playlist:

1. Overture to a Fanfare (Dave Slonaker)
2. The Day Thou Gavest (Philip Wilby)
3. Glorious Ventures (Peter Graham)
4. Hylton in the Hall (Peter Graham)
Soloist: Dr. Bryan Appleby-Wineberg (cornet)
5. Hylton's Bear Bones (Peter Graham)
6. Jack Meets Joshua (Peter Graham)
7. An Untold Story (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
Soloist: Carl Ball (horn)
8. Knight Templar (George Allan)
9. Share My Yoke (Joy Webb)
Soloist: Dr. Bryan Appleby-Wineberg (cornet)
10. Desde Argentina, con Amor (Astor Piazzolla)
11. Meditation (Peter Graham)
Soloists: Joe Sino (baritone) & Jack Deal (flugel)
12. Dance: Zeibekikos (Philip Wilby)
Soloist: Dr. Amy Schumaker Bliss (baritone)
13. The Higher Plane (Stephen Bulla)
Soloist: William Gregory (soprano cornet)
14. The Shepherd’s Song (Goff Richards)
15. Ticket to Ride (John Lennon & Paul McCartney)
16. Metropolis (Peter Graham) 

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