CD cover - What are you doing the rest of your lifeWhat are you doing the rest of your life

1-Apr-2009

Those whacky guys at Mnozil Brass tend to do things differently, but have they struck gold again with their latest release? It seems so...

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It might just be that Mnozil Brass have got a fair bit to answer for in seriously damaging the work productivity time of many a brass enthusiast. 

Proper work

How many of us are going to admit to having whiled away a happy few minutes (or hours) when we should have been doing some “proper” work by skipping through the multitudinous videos of the masters of Viennese brass on You Tube?  

The fact is that a quick search of the site will throw up a veritable host of clips showing these guys doing what they do brilliantly well…entertaining; and those clips range from their now famous Bohemian Rhapsody routine to Zoltan Kiss, quite possibly the world’s only moon walking trombone player (just watch the video!). 

You Tube aside, there are of course several DVD’s of the group available showing the guys in “cabaret”. 

Great thing

The great thing about a CD though, is that it forces us to focus on the playing alone; and some playing it is too. In fact there are times when it is so stupendously good that all we could was to sit back and admire seven immensely talented guys.

Versatility

One of the key factors is plain and simple versatility. The sheer ease with which Mnozil Brass are able to flit from the “straight” repertoire of a Richard Rogers waltz in Out of my Dreams or the laid back harmonies of Michel Legrand’s What are you doing the rest of your life, to the screaming trumpet lines of The Green Hornet or Gerhard Füssl’s Moldavia is stunning to the point that it beggars belief. 

Add to this the fact that the guys can all sing (pretty much every attempt we’ve heard at brass band singing has to go down as embarrassing in comparison) and the result is a group that has the potential to cross boundaries way beyond the confines of the brass world.

Handy

It helps of course that a good number of the Mnozil members are also pretty handy arrangers and composers (is there no end to their talents?!) with the band’s long haired bass trumpet player (he wouldn’t look out of place as the bass guitarist with Iron Maiden) Leonhard Paul being involved in a good number of the pieces on this CD in both capacities, whilst Thomas Gansch also lends a hand as composer and arranger.

So what are our favourite tracks? Well, there are no real weaknesses but if we’ve got to cherry pick, Leonhard Paul’s foxy little Latin number Riserva is a brilliant example of Mnozil’s relaxed jazz style at its best whilst The Green Hornet is not only a treat for Quentin Tarantino fans but also features some nifty (bordering on scary) trumpet playing coupled with accompaniment that’s just about as tight as the hornet’s you know what. 

Nifty

Talking of nifty trumpet playing, Moldavia kicks off with a gypsy like melody on the trombone that soon transforms itself into a wild dance and ends up in the trumpet stratosphere with a bit of the aforementioned singing along the way…stunning stuff.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more restrained and relaxed on the other hand, Robert Schumann’s Abendlied or the Legrand title track should do the job very nicely.

Unique

For sheer uniqueness though (with just a touch of Austrian surrealism thrown in for good measure perhaps) you won’t beat the Thomas Gansch number that brings the disc to a close. 

We’re not even going to try to translate the title (it has to be the longest in history) and it all starts off innocently enough with a nice little melody that could have come out of the Obrasso catalogue. 

What comes next though is….well, we’re not going to give the game away but let’s just say that there is a bit of a clue in the apparent reference to a DJ in the title. Strange it most certainly is…but brilliantly so.                                      

Little gripe

If we had one incy-wincy little gripe it would be the fact that there are no real notes in the otherwise attractive packaging on either the music or the ensemble and its members; but frankly who really cares? 

With playing of this kind of quality it’s simply a case of sitting back and enjoying it for what it is; brilliant musicianship and staggering talent from what is probably the most innovative brass ensemble we have ever heard. This is one CD we wouldn’t want to be without. 

Long live Mnozil Brass. We love ‘em!        

Christopher Thomas

What's on this CD?

1. Out Of My Dreams, Richard Rodgers arr. Leonhard Paul7
2. Auf der Heide Blüh die Letzten Rosen, R Stolz arr. Leonhard Paul
3. Riserva, Leonhard Paul
4. Abendlied, Robert Schumann arr. Leonhard Paul
5. Tanzbodenboaniger, Leonhard Paul
6. Russische Nachte, Thomas Gansch
7. Hungarische Schnapsodie, Leonhard Paul
8. You've Got A Friend, C King arr. Leonhard Paul
9. Moldavia, Traditional arr. Gerhard Füssl
10. Da Summa is Aussi, Traditional arr. Leonhard Paul
11. The Green Hornet Theme, B May, A Hirt and R Rindberger
12. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life, Michel Legrand arr. Leonhard Paul
13. Samba Mno Ci, Thomas Gansch
14. Frater Septimus Crux None, Thomas Gansch

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