“A to Z of Jazz” – Fine Arts Brass Quintet – Nimbus Records

by | Oct 6, 2008 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

“A to Z of Jazz” – Fine Arts Brass Quintet – Nimbus Records UHJ Ambisonic NI 5703, 63:40 [Distr. by Allegro]:

The Fine Arts Brass are probably the leading brass quintet in the UK. They were founded in 1980 and have gone thru some changes of members. This fine disc was released in 2003 and there has been a change of members since then because only one woman is present (on second trumpet) whereas on their web site their publicity photos show two women members.

This program is something like one might see from their Canadian counterparts, the Canadian Brass, except that there is more variety and the 20 tracks here are shorter.  Of course you can’t expect to  have a classical ensemble like this really dig into real jazz performance style, but the Fine Arts Brass come close enough.  Just look at the tracklist below – very clever and sure to keep up interests of listeners. Among the surprises were seeing Basie’s Li’l Darlin’ , Chick Corea’s La Fiesta, and the two tunes from Frank Zappa.

Sonics are wonderful.  If this is your first Nimbus title, you will learn that you don’t need an Ambisonic decoder if you have Dolby ProLogic II – just use that and the surround effect will be about as good as many multichannel SACDs. In fact you may find you’ll want to set the balance a bit away from the surround channels and toward the front.  (But if you just play back in stereo on just two speakers, you will probably find the micing is a bit too distant from the performers.)

  1. The Thriller
  2. Alexander’s Ragtime Band
  3. Tiger Rag
  4. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
  5. Strike Up The Band
  6. Puttin’ On The Ritz
  7. Smashin’ 3rds – Valentine Stomp
  8. Top Hat, White Tie And Tails
  9. They Can’t Take That Away From Me
10. A Foggy Day – Love Walked In
11. Carnival Of Venice
12. Salt Peanuts
13. Li’l Darlin’
14. Flight Of The Foo Birds
15. My Favourite Things
16. Theme From ‘Lumpy Gravy’
17. Hayburner
18. La Fiesta
19. James
20. Dog Breath Variations

— John Sunier

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