Brass Band of Battle Creek was in Sarasota last evening as part of its mini-tour in Florida. They were under the direction of Richard Evans, amusingly attired in Scottish kilt, etc. You can expect with this group of mainly professional musicians to see a number of big names, but a surprise was to see and hear Maurice Murphy on cornet/trumpet. He was granted special celebrity-status and featured as soloist in a “John Williams Trilogy” (arr. Duncan) where he performed some of the film themes which have added to his fame. He can still deliver the goods! The British contingent also included Steven Mead (euph.), Les Neish, Dean Morley (tubas), Mark Frost (bass tbn.), Martin Armstrong and John Rudkin (tenor hns.). Chris Jaudes sat end chair and featured frequently, not least in a high octane performance of Sing, Sing, Sing along with ex-Winton Marsalis trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and solo percussionist Dave Ratajczak. Together with the band they really cooked up a storm! I doubt any other brass band could make jazz sound so natural. Other notable names to me were Rex Richardson (soprano), Rich Kelly (cornet/trumpet, Boston Pops) and Jens Lindemann (flugel). Each of these had solo work — as did Martin Armstrong. It was good value for money and my first chance to hear this outstanding group. I didn’t expect to hear Philip Sparke’s Music For Battle Creek, nor did they play it as film music formed the core of the programme. But there was some real substance in pieces like “Baba Yaga” & “The Great Gate of Kiev” (Pictures at an Exhibition, arr. Howarth) and the Scherzo from Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony (arr. Duncan). The audience was well satisfied after the final encore, Amazing Grace (Himes). *** Another big-name trumpet player, who I thought was retired these days, performed the night before with the Canadian Brass — Ronnie Romm. He lives in town so I thought he was filling in for an indisposed Manon Lafrance (the first women to play in the group), as she was listed in the programme. Not so: apparently CB now has a “dream team” of trumpet players who rotate alongside the more permanent trumpeter Joe Burgstaller. Ronnie still plays superbly. While CB played well enough, the programme was rather predictable with works by Bach, Gabrielli, Luther Henderson and Peter Schickele’s Gunsmoke “opera”, which still manages to raise a laugh.