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2012 4BR Awards — Solo CD of the Year

Which solo performer tickled your fancy in 2012 with their latest release?

4barsrest awards

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Thankfully, much like 2011, quality outshone quantity in the solo CD production stakes.

These are five that we were able to review during the year, so some favourites may have to wait for consideration in 2013.

Most of the significant releases came late, but these five really did give the opportunity for the performers to showcase their talents in full.

Boneman walkingBoneman Walking
Brett Baker
Accompanist: Fenella Haworth-Head (piano)
White River Evocations: WR12-03
Total playing time: 72.21 mins


Brett Baker may well be a very busy recording artist, but he is also one who has the ability to deliver excellence on each occasion too. This release was a case in point – a contrasting mix of demanding concerto repertoire and more lightweight fayre played in recital mode with piano accompaniment.

Reviewer Peter Bale called it, ‘a varied programme of attractive solos’ – and the more you listened to it the more attractive it got.

Steven Mead
Central Band of the Royal Air Force
Conductor: Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs
Bocchino Records: BOCC120
Total playing time: 72 mins approx


Steven Mead continues to pursue new musical horizons and projects with a passion that remains undimmed. This long standing recording project was on his wish list for many years – and it was well worth the wait. 

Reviewer Peter Bale said; ‘Each performance of the major works is a showcase of excellence that engages the listener from start to finish. To say this is a highly recommended release is almost a superfluous comment.’

Eminence Brass
Featuring: David Childs, Philip Cobb, Owen Farr, Richard Marshall
Doyen Recordings: CD296
Total Playing Time: 74.05


The art of the quartet is not lost – thanks to this quite stunning display of considered virtuosity by Owen Farr, David Childs, Philip Cobb and Richard Marshall.

As reviewer Brian Buckley aptly pointed out; ‘The finely honed balance and the scintillating brilliance of the performers, both individually and as an ensemble, make for compulsive listening.’

Solo SpotsSolo Spots
Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band
Conductor: Phillip McCann
Harlequin: HAR1131
Total Playing Time: Approx 58 mins


If the sum of a band is only as good as its constituent player parts then with this recording you can see why Carlton Main has consistently punched well above its weight in recent years – thanks in no small part to the direction of Phillip McCann at its helm.

This is a showcase CD of thought and quality, and as reviewer Malcolm Wood pointed out; ‘a recording covering a variety of musical genres, but above all it shows that Phillip McCann's intuitive understanding of the alchemy of the blending process has not been lost on either his players or his band.’

Iain Culross
Leyland Band
World of Sound Recordings: WOS044
Conductors: Russell Gray & Leigh Baker
Total Playing Time: 75.04


One of the surprise delights of the solo recording genre this year – as a former wayward spirit of the cornet displayed a remarkable sense of performance maturity.

This was cornet playing that  made a real impression from start to finish, as the 4BR Editor remarked; ‘That is certainly the case with this release; with a dozen confidently performed works, each played with an engaging sense of controlled flair and understanding.’

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Croydon Citadel Band - The International Staff Band of The Salvation Army

Saturday 24 March • The Salvation Army. Booth Rd. Croydon. CR0 1XY CR0 1XY

Black Dyke Band - Newtown (Powys)

Saturday 24 March • Theatre Hafren, Llanidloes Rd, Newtown SY16 4HU

Leyland Band - Annual Patrons' Concert

Sunday 25 March • Chorley Town Hall PR7 1DP

South London Fellowship Band - Royal Tunbridge Wells Songsters

Monday 26 March • The Salvation Army. Royal Tunbridge Wells Corps. Bayhall Road. Tunbridge Wells TN2 4UT

Foden's Band - Sandbach Town Hall - Heritage Launch

Tuesday 27 March • Sandbach Town Hall,High St, Sandbach CW11 1AX

Clifton and Lightcliffe Band

March 24 • Our third section B Band are looking for Cornet and Trombone players. Rehearsals Friday's 7.00 - 8.15pm and Sunday mornings 10.00 - 12.15pm Based at Bailiff Bridge Brighouse. Our Saturday morning training band is also looking for players. All abilities.

Clifton and Lightcliffe Band

March 24 • Second Section band we are looking for a 2nd Trombone and back row cornet. We have a busy concert calendar and a trip to Italy planned for August 2018. Based at Bailiff Bridge Brighouse.

Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

March 23 • REPIANO CORNET are you the right person for this seat, we have a sensible mix of concerts and contests with a Germany trip in 2019. Also a 5th place at the yorkshire areas in the 1st section we are looking to build on this for the future.

Ian Holmes

BA (hons), PGDip (RCM), ARCM, ALCM
Conductor, piano accompanist and educator