“Trombone and …: Concert Duets with Voice, Marimba, Horn, Saxophone and Trumpet” = Works by KARL KROEGER: Tres Psalms Davidis; CLARENCE BARBER: 4 Impulsions; BRAD EDWARDS: 5 American Folksong Sketches; INEX McCOMOS: Descending into Light; GORDON GOODWIN: Footprints – Brad Edwards, trombone/ Tina Milhorn Stallard, sop./ Scott Herring, marimba/ Martha Edwards, horn/ Clifford Leaman, alto sax/ James Ackley, trumpet – MSR Classics MS1492 59:05 [Distr. by Albany] (7/30/13) *** 1/2:

Trombone and …. is a unique CD collection of duets for trombone and voice, marimba, horn, saxophone and trumpet. It’s not a collection that’s quite like anything I’ve seen or heard, so in the CD player it went for a listen. The disc is one of those ‘mystery’ discs. A collection of works with nothing about the composers, but some notes about the artists.

Trombonist Brad Edwards is an accomplished musician, with stints with the U.S. Army band, and he’s performed with the Baltimore Symphony and the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra. He also has a life outside classical music, and he’s been on stage with the late Dave Brubeck, Olivia Newton-John and the Gatlin Brothers.

All the world on offer are contemporary in nature, from composers like Karl Kroeger, Clarence Barber, Gordon Goodwin and Brad Edwards himself, who gives us 5 American Folksong Sketches, written in 2012.

The performances are all excellent, and the pairings with other instruments, particularly the marimba are quite interesting. The recording is fine, although there are no details on the recording venue or the equipment involved. The stereo separation is good, and the sound is quite natural, so no complaints on that score.

There aren’t a lot of champions of the trombone. Eric Ewazen’s compositions come to mind, and I was surprised his work is not represented on this disc. This collection is engaging and enough off the well trodden path to be interesting rather than simply diverting.

Edwards is a skilled brass player, and he’s put together a program of interest. I would have very much liked some details about the compositions performed, and a few words from Mr. Edwards about his goals for this recording.

Trombone and … is worth a listen for the quality of the playing, and the recording.

—Mel Martin