CD cover - Strike Up the BandStrike Up the Band

14-Dec-2008

Perhaps the best 12 players to come out of Austria since Hans Krankl and the lads beat Germany in the 1978 World Cup Finals? They may have a naff name, but flippin' heck - Sound Inn Brass can't half play...

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Sound Inn Brass
Conductor: Steven Mead
Soloists: Steven Mead, Hans Gansch
Bocchino Recordings: BOCC112
Total Playing Time: Approx 70 mins
 

Flippin’ heck. These lads can play.

This is the best team of 12 to come out of Austria since Hans Krankl and his boys put one over the Germans at the 1978 World Cup Finals.  Sound Inn Brass may have a bit of a naff name, but there is nothing naff about their playing – they are stunning.

Tracks of delight

Here they team up with Seven Mead and the peerless Hans Gansch to showcase just what they can do when their minds turn to a bit of high energy fun and games. The result is one of the most enjoyable CD releases of 2008.

What we get are 14 tracks of delight – where even the serving up of a slice or two of prime Austrian Lüneberg cheesiness is done with such panache that you are left with a smile as big as one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biceps. 

Austrian cheese

The reason why a series of medleys from the musical ‘Chess’ or the ‘Little Jazz Waltz’ can be presented with such obvious irony and still retain their musical integrity is a matter of pure genius in the delivery process.  As thick as Sound Inn Brass can spread it, you still enjoy every last mouthful.

Kit star

It also helps of course that you have peformers of rare talent to play the pieces. Although you get more than your fair share of spectacular pyrotechnics, technical wizardry and stunning solo and ensemble contributions, the undoubted stars are the percussion team lead by the kit player Andreas Grabner, that provide the rhyhtm bedrock of such elasticity and subtle variation from which the brass players can flourish with unhibited freedom.

After listening for far too long to brass bands trying in vain to play big band pieces with a rigidity of tempered steel, to hear playing of this calibre is an unbridled joy. It’s an education in the art of musicianship – all the lads know how to swing, bop, funk and jazz. 

Free wheeling

Steven Mead and Hans Gansch certainly enjoy themsleves too, with the former starting the ball rolling with the opening ‘Spain’ as well as adding authentic free wheeling contributions to ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,’ ‘Chameleon’ and ‘Carioca’. Meanwhile Mr Gansch delivers a rendition of ‘Send in the Clowns’ that would have made Elaine Paige green with envy.

Red Bull and apple strudel

Elsewhere there is a fantastic bit of flugel work by Johannes Baer on ‘Children of Sanchez’, which compliments plenty of stratospheric trumpet work , creamy french horn contributions, and wicked trombone and euphonium episodes too. The tuba playing of Roland Krem immense – the man must have a constitution derived from Red Bull chasers and apple strudel.

Pawn Brokers sign

Above all though is the sense of verve, vibrancy and feerlessness about it all. Yep, there are the occasional rough edges and moments of over ambition, but so what?  These blokes have appendages the size of a pawn brokers sign, and they are not the slightest bit bothered in showing them off to all and sundry.

The arrangements amongst others from the likes of Peter Meechan, Hubert Gurtner and Johannes Baer are tailored to perfection, and whilst it would have been nice to have read a little more about the performers and the pieces in the sleeve notes, the quality of post production process is a bonus – sharp, immediate and expertly balanced.

All you have to do is sit back and enjoy youself.

Iwan Fox 

What's on this CD?

1, Spain, Chick Corea, Arr Peter Meechan,
2, A Night in Tunisia, Dizzy Gillespie Arr Joachim Refardt
3, Chess—Medley from the Musical, Ulvaeus/Andersson Arr Hubert Gurtner
4, Children of Sanchez, Chuck Mangione Arr Johannes Baer
5, Ballade for Alicia, Johannes Baer
6, Strike up the Band, George & Ira Gershwin Arr Joachim Refardt
7, Send in the Clowns, Steven Sondheim Arr Roger Harvey
Soloist — Hans Gansch
8, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Joe Zawinul Arr Peter Meechan
9, I Got Rhythm, George Gershwin Arr Roger Harvey
10, Sardan, Johannes Baer
11, Chameleon, Maynard Ferguson Arr Peter Meechan
12, Little Jazz Waltz, Bob Seibert
13, Carioca, Vincent Youmans Arr Colin Randle/Hubert Gurtner
14, La Fiesta, Chick Corea Arr Roberto Di Marino

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