CD review: Funkaru!

Hidenori Arai, Kyohei Ando, Taishi Furumoto, Gideon Juckes
Bell Recordings: R-2050507

One of the great mysteries of cinematic history is how American actor Dick Van Dyke came up with his ‘cockney’ accents (it meandered from Bow Bells to Bel Air) for the role of Bert the lovable chimneysweep in Mary Poppins.

‘Gawd ‘elp us Guv’ then if he was ever asked to come up with the Japanese lyrics of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’

It really would have been quite atrocious.

Thankfully there is no vocal accompaniment to the witty arrangement of the iconic Disney song (or others) on this uplifting debut release from the low brass quartet of Hidenori Arai, Kyohei Ando, Taishi Furumoto and Gideon Juckes (who hails from Kent, so the closest he came to a diet of jellied eels and dropped ‘aitches was his studies at Goldsmith’s College in London).

However, he has worked in Japan since 2007 where he has teamed up with an eclectic series of musicians over the years to successfully mix different genres and styles together (such as saxophonist Rie Takeuchi on the CD ‘Music for Isolation’).

Slow saunter

And this CD is more than a little different; ‘The Girl from Ipanema’  sauntering slowly with a minor keyed detour on her way to the beach, Dorothy sadly reflecting on her broken rainbow dreams and Chick Corea clicking his stylish Flamenco heels on what sounds like a formica sushi bar table top in downtown Tokyo.  

‘One Day Funk’  bubbles along with loose limbed energy, whilst ‘What a Happy Euph Tuba Day!!’  is a cross between an American circus march and backing music to a speeded up Benny Hill sketch.  All are played with a confident, collective élan.

‘One Day Funk’  bubbles along with loose limbed energy, whilst ‘What a Happy Euph Tuba Day’  is a cross between an American circus march and backing music to a speeded up Benny Hill sketch.  All are played with a confident, collective élan. 

Right appreciation

A more serious note is struck with Shawn Kelley’s ‘Urban Suite’  from 2009. Used as a competition piece at the ITEA Quartet competition in 2010 it offers a compact quartet of different portraits of busy city life – although at its core is a softly swaying musical love letter. 

It’s a lovely work, played with just the right appreciation of its musical architecture.

Classy evocative substance is also displayed with Enrique Crespo’s ‘3 Milongas’  from 1996 (which can also be performed as a trombone quartet) which neatly captures the essence of the happy side of Buenos Aires and Montevideo tango dance clubs to a tee – in turn, sinuous, sultry and optimistic.

Even Dick Van Dyke would have enjoyed dancing with his ol’ bamboo to that. 

Iwan Fox

To purchase: https://www.gideonjuckes.com/shop/funkaru-cd

Play list:

1. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Robert Bernard Sherman, arr. Hiroki Takahashi)
2. The Girl from Ipanema (Antonio Carlos Jobim, arr. Hidenori Arai)
3. 3 Milongas (Enrique Crespo)
i. Troiliana 
ii. Campera
iii. Candombe
6. Over the Rainbow (Harold Arlen, arr. Akira Miyagawa)
7.  What a Happy Euph Tuba Day!! (Hidenori Arai)
8. Urban Suite (Shawn Kelley)
i. Skyline
ii. Street Beat
iii. Lily, My Love
iv. Jungle Rumble (Finale)
12. Spain (Chick Corea, arr. Hidenori Arai)
13. One Day Funk (Hidenori Arai)

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    

Contest: 100thSpring Festival

Saturday 8 May • 97 Church St, Blackpool, FY1 1HL

Contest: 168th British Open

Saturday 11 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA

Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Saturday 18 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Race Course, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL40 4SH

Contest: Lower Section National Finals

Sunday 19 September • The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury, Cheltenham, GL40 4SH

Contest: National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain

Saturday 2 October • Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP

Chinnor Silver

April 19 • With rehearsals starting soon in line with government guidelines we are looking to strengthen BACKROW CORNETS &PERCUSSION TEAM concerts and contests planned.we rehearse on wednesdays in our own bandroom check out our lockdown performances and come join us

Chadderton Band

April 17 • Chadderton Band is a friendly non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections of the band particularly on Euph Drums and Horn. Come along for a blow most welcome.

Oxford Cherwell Brass

April 14 • Returning to the band room in May we have vacancies for second and third cornets. Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings 8-10pm at Edward Feild School, Kidlington. The band has engagements and contests lined up from late summer onwards.

Michael Bennett

BSc, RNCM (Perf)
Performer, Composer, Arranger, Teacher


 © 2021 4barsrest.com Ltd