Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

River City Brass Band - Big Band Brass (1997)


Denis Colwell, conductor. Recorded in The Carnegie Library of Homestead, Munhall, PA, May 22 and 23, 1997.

This 28 piece brass band was formed in Pittsburgh in the early '80s and performs a concert series in the Pittsburgh area and tours occasionally.  The brass band tradition comes from England (I refer you to the 1997 motion picture Brassed Off) and is a nice change of pace from the usual band sound that includes woodwinds.  Looking at the album title, I was expecting strictly arrangements of big band tunes, but there's also show tunes and a few classical pieces thrown in for variety.  The performances on this disc are all top-notch; these players are good.  However, the sound quality varies from track to track, from average to muddled, and some arrangements are better than others.

Tracks:  My favorites on this disc are In The Mood, Sing Sing Sing, Slaughter on 10th Avenue, and a medley of Glenn Miller tunes titled Miller Magic.  I could do without the two tracks with the vocal group (Operator and I've Got The World On A String).

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  Around the turn of the century, I was artistic director for a small local arts presenting organization, which means I got to choose the artists that came to town for our community series.  The operating budget wasn't great, so we generally looked for groups that were already in the area on tour and got them to do a weekday show as they were traveling between bigger cities.  Because the organization was on several mailing lists, agents would often send me promotional materials, including CDs.  Most of the time the CDs were either only samplers with 2 or 3 tracks or the performers weren't all that good (sometimes both).  Those CDs were quickly tossed.  This one, however, was full length and quite good.  So good, in fact, that I booked the group and they performed for us January 12, 2000.  I took some of my band students to the concert and they had a great time.  This disc also got much playing time around the band hall that year.  Having moved on from both the world of band as well as the world of arts presenting, I rarely think about this group or CD, but according to the band's website, the group is still very active.

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