Canadian Brass - The CBC Years

Dave Payn

Active Member
Picked this up from a second hand CD shop! The compliation dates a few years back but it covers the Canadian Brass in their early years, from their beginning in 1970 through to 1977. It even features a track from the group's original line up; Stuart Laughton, Bill Phillips (trumpet) Graeme Page (Horn) Eugene Watts (Horn) and Charles Daellenbach (Tuba) so purely from a historical perspective of hearing the Canadian Brass BEFORE Fred Mills and Ronald Romm became the established trumpet pairing, it's a fascinating release.

However, despite many moments of fine playing, it also displays some of the group's 'achilles heel' moments which I felt was prevalent in some of their other recordings from the 1970s and 1980s, notably their suspect intonation when playing works from the classical repertoire. This becomes more pronounced when being accompanied with an organ. Track 22, Marcel Dupre's Poeme Heroique is particularly painful in places with regards intonation.

Although they were classiclally trained, I always felt they sounded more comfortable in the lighter and jazzier repertoire. The last two tracks on this compilation, rags by Scott Joplin demonstrate their comfortability for this listener.

Canadian Brass with Romm, Mills, Page (or Martin Hackelman), Watts and Daellenbach were outstanding technicians undoubtedly, but never for me, achieved the regular homogenity of sound that the Philip Jones 'A team' of Jones, Howarth, James, Iveson and Fletcher achieved. All the same, a worthy release for fans of Canadian Brass and what they got up to in their early years. It mainly contains works from the baroque repertoire, but also has a few 'curios', notably the Quintet for Brass by Francois Morel, the most contemporary sounding work by far, and the only track to feature the group's original line up.

One other note. It claims that one of the founder trumpeters, Bill Phillips, (a Canadian by birth) was 'the trumpet soloist on Penny Lane'! I always thought that was David Mason!
Wow, I didn't even know that there were 2 other trumpet players in Canadian Brass before Messrs. Mills and Romm!

I'm sure you're correct about David Mason and Penny Lane.

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