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CD review: Celebrate! 50 Years of the Flowers Band

Flowers Band
Principal Conductor: David Childs
Soloists: Paul Richards, Grant Jameson, Andrew Smith, Emily Evans and Carlton Sykes
SKU: 100393

Flowers

2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the Flowers Band – an occasion celebrated in appropriate style and intention by this enjoyable release under the direction of David Childs.

There is certainly a lot packed in here - 19 easy-listening tracks in fact that should make for a successful way to cater for the listening tastes of just about every potential CD purchaser at their concerts in the next 12 months or more.   

Slick and polished

As has become their calling card in recent years, this is slick, polished playing - right from the opening ‘Prelude for an Occasion’ - an old Edward Gregson concert staple that was written in the same year as a fledging ensemble emerged as the City of Gloucester Band from the demise of the Royal Gloucester Hussars (TA) Band.

What follows showcases the current band’s substantial ability to deliver in different styles - from a throbbing ‘Blackbird Special’ and waspish ‘Candide Overture’ to the colorful exuberance of ‘La Fiesta’, the bombast of ‘Youngblood’ and the quirky self-analysis of Wilfred Heaton’s ‘Praise’.

The soloists are on excellent form - led by their accomplished soprano star Paul Richards, who is such a fine lyrical lead on ‘Let Freedom Ring’ and ‘Feed the Birds’.

Emily Evans brings cultured tonality to the familiar horn standard, ‘Over the Rainbow’, as does Rob Wilshaw on ‘Londonderry Air’, whilst Andrew Smith is the soulful voice on ‘He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’. 

As has become their calling card in recent years, this is slick, polished playing - right from the opening ‘Prelude for an Occasion’ - an old Edward Gregson concert staple that was written in the same year as a fledging ensemble emerged as the City of Gloucester Band from the demise of the Royal Gloucester Hussars (TA) Band.

Engaging

Elsewhere, Grant Jameson enjoys himself with Karl Jenkins’ idiosyncratic ‘A Troika, Tidy!’, as does Carlton Sykes on ‘Carnival for Bass’ - delivered in a manner every bit as good as his father could conjure up in his pomp.  

Something old, something different and something new makes up the rest of an engaging release - from pens of Bourgeois, Wilby, Graham, Hollings, PLC and Bates - all neatly balanced and precisely packaged to appeal to fans, aficionados and occasional listeners alike.  

Dr. Jim Fox


To purchase: https://flowersband.bigcartel.com/product/celebrate

Playlist:

1. Prelude for an Occasion (Edward Gregson)
2. Blackbird Special (Dirty Dozen Brass Band arr. Reid Gilje) 
3. Candide Overture (Leonard Bernstein arr. Howard Snell) 
4. Let Freedom Ring (Jonathan Bates) 
Soloist: Paul Richards 
5. La Fiesta (Chick Corea arr. Philip Harper) 
6. Nobody does it Better (Marvin Hamlisch arr. Paul Lovatt-Cooper) 
7. Feed the Birds (Sherman/Sherman arr. Jonathan Bates) 
Soloist: Paul Richards 
8. Youngblood (Daniel Hall) 
9. Memories of a Lost Boy (Ben Hollings) 
10. A Troika Tidy! (Sir Karl Jenkins) 
Soloist: Grant Jameson 
11. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven (Sir Karl Jenkins arr. Tony Small) 
Soloist: Andrew Smith 
12. Serenade (Derek Bourgeois) 
13. Over the Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg arr. Goff Richards) 
Soloist: Emily Evans 
14. March - Praise (Wilfred Heaton) 
15. Londonderry Air (Trad. arr. John Iveson) 
Soloist: Rob Wilshaw 
16. The Day Thou Gavest (Revd. Clement Scholefield arr. Philip Wilby) 
17. Carnival for Bass (Fred Muscroft) 
Soloist: Carlton Sykes 
18. Diversions after Henry Purcell (Jonathan Bates) 
19. Toss the Feathers (Trad. arr. Peter Graham)

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