Reviews - CDs and DVDs


Contrasts Brett Baker 2

Brett Baker - Trombone Soloist with the Black Dyke Band 

MD: Professor Nicholas Childs

Doyen Label: DOY CD383



Brett Baker, the principal trombone of the Black Dyke Band, is recognised as having made more recordings as a solo item than any other trombonist. The latest, an album of seven original compositions for trombone and brass band, is accompanied by Black Dyke Band.

Trombone time by Kenneth Downie, was commissioned by Brett Baker and written especially for this album. This light-hearted piece falls into three sections but played in one continuous movement. The music is challenging and whilst exploiting the full range of the trombone gives scope for virtuosic and lyrical playing, which is produced in spades. A very fine performance for the work's premiere recording.

Gordon Langford's Rhapsody for Trombone was commissioned by Geoffrey brand for a new work to be performed by Don Lusher at the 1975 National Brass Band Finals Gala Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The work has since become one of the most well known trombone solo's (particularly the 'big tune') and receives a splendid performance by the soloist and Black dyke Band.

The Guardian by Peter Graham, was dedicated to the composers brother, Paul Graham and premiered by Charles Baler with the New York Staff Band in 1983. Rhapsodic in construction the work is based on a setting by Ray Bowes of the hymn tune 'Jesus Loves Me'. The title is taken from the final verse of the hymn 'Jesus Loves Me, He will stay close beside me all the way'. A beautiful work that is performed with reverence.

Serenade for Trombone by John Golland has a wistful feel but it allows Brett Baker and Black Dyke Band to display their exceptional quiet sound. This premiere recording recoding of a wonderful piece is an absolute joy.

Gareth Wood's Dance Sequence was written for Don Lusher in 1980, but due to the difficult accompaniment has rarely been heard on the concert platform. On this disc the soloist and band make light of the difficulties and produce a quality performance.

Trombango by stephen Roberts was written for Brett Baker in 2015 and draws on the dance form of the Argentine tango. Rhapsodic in nature the work explores the wide range of the trombone, rising into the stratosphere on occasions. A delightful piece that is full of fun, but requires - and receives - Brett's superb technical virtuosity. A very enjoyable performance of the disc's third premiere.

Contrasts by Jan van der Roost is a two movement composition and also the disc's fourth premiere recording. It was written and dedicated to Brett Baker who premiered it at Snape Maltings in the summer of 2016. The first movement , Sounds, has a dark and sombre atmosphere. It contains some contemporary playing techniques , such as quarter tones in the solo part, various mutes in the band and full use is made of Black Dyke's percussion section. Movement two, Caprice, is energetic and light-hearted with some technically demanding moments, but brings the listener back to a more musical style and to a rousing conclusion of the disc.

This is an excellent disc featuring much exceptional playing by Brett Baker and Black Dyke Band. It must surely be the winning solo album of 2018.


1. Trombone Time - Kenneth Downie [7.00]     Premiere Recording

2. Rhapsody for Trombone - Gordon Langford [12.34]

3. The Guardian - Peter Graham [6.37]

4. Serenade for Trombone - John Golland [6.06]     Premiere Recording

5. Dance Sequence - Gareth Wood [10.07]

6. Trombango - Stephen Roberts [7.14]     Premiere Recording

7 - 8. Contrasts - Jan van der Roost     Premiere Recording

i) Sounds [10.21]

ii) Caprice [6.14]

Sydney Swancott