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CD review: This Way

Tom Hutchinson
Accompanied by Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper
DOY CD386



4star

The signposts that have marked the direction of musical travel in making Tom Hutchinson arguably the finest cornet player of his generation stand clear and unambiguous.

Approaching a decade as principal cornet at Cory they have also signalled his development into a consummate exponent of the art; utilizing a remarkable technique to augment rather than confine his mature appreciation of style - something heard in its entirety with this, his second major solo recording.

It has already gained widespread critical acclaim - and it is obvious to hear why. 

Commanding

The performances (including flugel horn) are exemplary: 11 works built around a commanding account of Derek Bourgeois’ fearsomely idiosyncratic ‘Cornet Concerto’.

It also incorporates distinctive renditions of standards such as ‘The Paragon’, ‘Prelude and Capriccio’, ‘Hejre Kati’ and ‘A Brown Bird Singing’, as well as interesting new detours with the languid jazz leanings of ‘Images’ by Kjetil Haaland and Dan Price’s ‘Montmartre Jardins sous la Pluie’, which is as impressionistically infused as a cloud of garlic fag smoke hanging in the air in a left-bank Parisian cafe. 

The performance of the Bourgeois ‘Concerto’ commands the highest praise however - and one that saves it from meandering into the composer’s sometimes over-familiar tropes of acerbic wit and sucrose nostalgia by playing of cultured technical flamboyance and insightful musical understanding. 

A brace of touching tributes to former Cory principal cornets Jim Davies and the much missed Ian Williams come with classy renditions of ‘Sonia’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’, with the release bookended by a scorch-marked ‘Fuego!’ opener and a clever take on ‘Mr Bojangles’ that would have put a glint in the glass eye of Sammy Davis Jr let along Tom’s mother, whose favourite it is. 

Highest praise

The performance of the Bourgeois ‘Concerto’ commands the highest praise however - and one that saves it from meandering into the composer’s sometimes over-familiar tropes of acerbic wit and sucrose nostalgia by playing of cultured technical flamboyance and insightful musical understanding. 

As a result the robust energy of the first and third movements never becomes frenetically overcharged, whilst the themes of the central section retain an honest simplicity. 

It is a definitive account - further enhancing a reputation of a player who will surely give yet more performances of major works that bear the directional accolade of ‘My Way’ rather than ‘This Way’ in the future.

Iwan Fox


To Purchase: http://www.worldofbrass.com/100391-group.html

Play list:

1. Fuego! (Philip Harper)
2-4. Concerto for Cornet and Brass Band (Derek Bourgeois)
5. A Brown Bird Singing (Wood arr. J.T Dodd)
6. The Paragon (E. Sutton)
7. Montmartre Jardins Sous la Pluie (Dan Price)
8. Prelude and Capriccio (Edward Gregson)
9. Images (Kjetil Haaland)
10. Hejre Kati (Hubbay & Mendez arr. Mark Freeh)
11. Sonia (Templeton arr. Denzil Stephens)
12. How Great Thou Art (Boberg arr. Philip Harper)
13. Mr Bojangles (Jerry Jeff Walker arr. David Griffiths)

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Phil Lawrence

ARCM PGRNCM MFTCL ARCM B.Mus.
Composer and conductor