An Egon Digital Recording, Egon SFZ 107
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TWO OF A MIND features bass trombonist Douglas Yeo and his European conterpart, tenor trombonist Nick Hudson. The programming of this recording was done with taste and variety. The CD begins with an unaccompanied selection for tenor and bass trombone, "Trombone Institute of Technology" by Michael Davis. The remainder of the recording consists of solo and duet performances by Yeo and Hudson with brass band and piano.
Yeo and Hudson's duet playing is well worth the price of admission. Rich, sincere, refined, sensitive, and precise musicianship is found throughout. Yeo and Hudson's attention to musical line and lyric quality is purely exquisite and refreshing from top to bottom.
A synergy in style and playing is found in Ewazen's "Pastorale." No individualistic characterics can be detected, but instead, a selfless collaboration aided by the beautiful writing of Ewazen thus providing a musically rich product. It was from this recording that the title of the album was derived. Yeo states in the liner notes, "It was one of those things which was so positive in our collaboration - that our sounds matched so well that people couldn't tell who was playing, which led us to name our CD, TWO OF A MIND."
"Currents," a composition for tenor and bass trombone with brass band by Lawrence Wolfe, written expressly for Yeo, Hudson and the Williams Fairey Band, receives its premiere performance on this disc. Perpetual motion, both in the accompaniment parts and solo parts, makes for a truly exciting 21st-century composition. Yeo and Hudson deliver on the technical side of the horn as does the Williams Fairey Band. The accompanying parts display the virtuosity and quality of the Williams Fairey Band, an award winning brass band in England.
Musicians and trombonists alike should add this CD to their library and hopefully look forward to further collaborations by Douglas Yeo and Nick Hudson. (Brandt Payne)
This album might be subtitled "Bones Across the Sea." Two of the fineest trombonists on both sides of the Atlantic collaborate with one of Britain's leading brass bands. The result is truly some of the most amazing and beautiful playing you'll hear anywhere! David Chapman's piano work is clean and sensitive, though I prefer the piano more forward in the mix. There is a mix of sacred and standard pieces all done with an excellence that reflects the ultimate artistry of our Creator God. Hudson and Yeo play with such a unified style and sound that you would hardly guess they were from such different musical backgrounds. The opening duet at times leaves you thinking there's a larger ensemble behind the two solo parts. The Williams Fairey Band is first-rate in its range of styles from the lyrical ("Fire Divine") to the complex ("Currents").
There are detailed background and program notes on Douglas Yeo's website. While there you should check out his entire website. You'll find a wealth of helpful material of the highest professional standard for performing and auditioning. Naturally and tastefully blended into his texts are clear statements of personal, biblical faith.
Two of a Mind is just that: two humble servants of God meeting in sound and heart honoring God with excellence. (Phil Norris)
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July/August 2002, Issue 116
This disc offers an uncompromisingly high quality of music performed by two trombone virtuosi of international calibre.
The programme begins with a superb unaccompanied modern jazz duo called "Trombone Institute of Technology" (from the pen of Michael Davis). It then continues with a great variety of duet styles accompanied by the band; first of all, "Fire Divine," a smoothly lyrical treatment of the song from Larsson's musical show "Spirit" (arranged by Ty Watson) and the 10 minute modernish piece "Currents" which was written specially for these two soloists by Lawrence Wolfe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This makes very interesting listening.
What I enjoyed most of all, however were the duets that were supported by piano rather than band, i.e. the Duo from Bach's "Cantata 78" and Eric Ewazen's absolutely charming "Pastorale" for Tenor and Bass Trombone. The latter is a completely captivating lyrical work of great sophistication and occasional deep feeling and at 8 1/2 minutes length it is still not one note too long. The solos add something quite different again. Amongst them, accompanied by band, Douglas Yeo gives an excellent account of Ty Watson's theme and variations solo "Vigilant," and Nick Hudson provides a fine performance of Leidzen's "Concertino for Band and Trombone."
If you enjoy the sounds of the various trombone timbres produced by its best executants, or if you simply enjoy high quality music whatever the instrument, I can recommend this disc wholeheartedly. (Vernon Briggs)
This remarkable CD is a compilation of disparate elements that becomes unified by its inclusion of styles and formats in an almost alternating sequence. It features Douglas Yeo and Nick Hudson, two outstanding trombone soloists who, though from different countries, backgrounds and disciplines, blend together perfectly as a duo and complement each other s eamlessly in alternating solo tracks. The excellent Williams Fairey Band provides the background on six of the selections, while another six are accompanied by David Chapman on piano and one is an unaccompanied duet for bass and tenor trombone.
Like Douglas Yeo's previous recording venrtures, this is an eclectic mix of material. Unlike the previous albums, this includes the added element of sharing the solo honors with Nick Hudson, principal trombone of the Williams Fairey Band, whose impressive resume in the British brass band tradition complements Doug's career as bass trombone of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Their pairing, together with the Williams Fairey Band and David Chapman, pianist, provides an extremely interesting variety of uniformly excellent, but stylistically diverse works.
An excellent 12-page program booklet contains information about the performers as well as the pieces and their a rrangers. It is included in the very attractive jewel-case packaging that features the cover photo reproduced on the disc label.
The collection opens with the unaccompanied duo, Trombone Institute of Technology, by Michael Davis. Jazz-influenced writing and angular, boppish lines make this technical tour-de-force a showcase for fast slide work and the smooth blend of Hudson's tenor and Yeo's bass trombone sounds.
The brilliant and smoothly energetic playing of the Williams Fairey Band provides the background for Yeo's virtuosic bass trombone in the next track, Vigilant, by Ty Watson. The band's smooth transition between styles and tempi in the rapidly developing segments of this piece is a delight for the listener as well as a firm underpinning for the soloist. The Band is also heard with Hudson on Concertino for Band and Trombone, by Erik Leidzen, to similarly excellent effect.
Jazzier stylings by the Williams Fairey band prevail on Mr. Nice Guy (Song for Bass Trombone) by Adrian Drover, a piece dedicated to George Roberts and featuring Yeo's bass trombone, and My Funny Valentine, Richard Rogers, arranged by Adrian Drover, featuring Hudson with the band. Drover's writing is smooth and expressive, and his arranging brings out the best in both band and soloists.
The devotional Fire Divine, by John Larson, arranged by Ty Watson features both soloists playing smoothly in duo with a chordal accompaniment by the band that swells into an effective and satisfying crescendo, then fades away. Beautiful soaring countermelodies by the first cornet complement the blend of the trombones and add to the contemplative feeling of this piece.
The band's virtuosity is featured equally with both trombonists in Currents, by Lawrence Wolfe, a stunning piece composed specifically for this recording and these soloists. Alternating segments for band alone, band with duo and cadenzas for the duo, this piece is a brilliant statement of the capabilities of these performers and the possibilities of this combination. It is fittingly placed as the last track on the CD, a summation and conclusion.
No less important are the remaining offerings in this collection, accompanied by David Chapman on Piano. T he introspective Questions, by Terry Camsey and Silent Noon, by Ralph Vaughan Williams feature Nick Hudson, while Concerto No. 1, by Alexi Lebedev and the devotional The Call, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, feature Douglas Yeo. The duo performs with piano on Duo from Cantata 78, by J.S. Bach, arranged by Douglas Yeo and Pastorale, by Eric Ewazen. Chapman's playing is solid and capable. It is fluid and expressive, yet always remains very much in the background.
Unfortunately, though all excellent in themselves, because of their lighter texture the piano-accompanied works lose some impact by their juxtaposition with band-accompanied pieces. This takes some adjustment for the listener as the program alternates between the band sound and the piano sound. The programming of alternate solos and duos with either band or piano must have been a considerable challenge, and ultimately the result is an excellent collection rather than a unified listening experience.
This is a must-have album for trombone enthusiasts, appreciators of fine solo and duo playing and especially for anyone who enjoyed Yeo's Proclamation. Anyone who appreciates the sound of a fine brass band will also want to have this album. (Gordon Bowie)
Tenor trombone and bass trombone are paired in "Two of a Mind," an Egon release from England featuring Nick Hudson of England on the former and Douglas Yeo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the latter. They are assisted by the Williams Fairey Band and pianist David Chapman.
Hot licks are what a listener might expect here. They're present, but the players mostly offer a smooth blend and eclectic repertoire showing the trombone as a lyrical instrument. The selections range from a tasteful transcription of the duet, "We hasten with weak yet eager steps," from Bach's Cantato No. 78, to "Currents" by Lawrence Wolfe, who when he isn't composing is the Boston Symphony's assistant principal bassist.
"Currents" is worth the price of admission alone. Composed for Hudson and Yeo and premiered here, it is a perpetual-motion romp with dark, almost diabolic overtones. Other selections, mostly in transcriptions, go from Vaughan Williams songs to Salvation Army music and Richard Rodgers', "My Funny Valentine." (Andrew Pincus)
It's not often you get two world-class performers to play together. When you are that good, there is usually an ego to match and leaving yourself open to comparison may reveal that a rival or contemporary comes out on top. And for the truly world class player, that's professional suicide. Remember the likes of Steve Ovett and Seb Coe or even Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. Stay apart long enough and the hype and expectation will usually far exceed anything the PR men could dream of, but come together before you've either reached your peak or when you are a bit off form and your reputation may be tarnished forever.
Thankfully, both Nick Hudson and Douglas Yeo are world class performers without egos the size of Audley Harrison's, and thankfully, both have the talent and good sense to be able to showcase their abilities without recourse to competitive rivalry. The end product is a truly top class CD release.
Nick Hudson has been the best brass band trombone player of his generation, ever since he took the challenge of becoming the fifteen-year-old Principal Trombone of the Fodens Band. Since then, he has established his reputation with a series of scintillating concert and contest performances that have left no one in doubt of his pedigree. We named him in the 4BR Top 10 Trombone Players of all time - and we weren't trying to kid anyone. He really is that good.
Douglas Yeo meanwhile has been the Bass Trombone player of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1985, and ever since he graduated from the famous Wheaton College and New York University, he has been head hunted by many of the leading US orchestras. Given that the orchestral scene in the USA is one of the most fiercely competitive and that the standard of brass orchestral playing is possibly the highest anywhere, his reputation has been forged in the most musically intense atmosphere imaginable. That tells you something about the man.
Both men possess the technical armoury to make the most of any repertoire that is placed in front of them, but the exceptional aspect of this release is that it is a testament to their innate musicianship and not just a showcase of pyrotechnic proficiency. Thus, each of the 13 tracks are given thoughtful expressive performances, that never stray from the intentions of the composers and are not spoilt by the trick embellishments or "individualism" of absent minded musical inconsideration.
Each performer gives superbly crafted individual accounts of substantial solo works as well as beautifully realised recital pieces. Much of the repertoire on show draws its inspiration from the Salvation Army and as such is understated yet fulfilling. The tracks 6 to 9 offer four works for solo voice, three accompanied by the superb David Chapman on piano and one with a very on form Williams Fairey. They are reflective, spiritual and beautifully performed by two artists with an intuitive feel for musical line and shape and a consummate understanding of the relationship for the words that have inspired the composers writing. They are immensely satisfying tracks.
The other works showcase the player's individual abilities to the full, and there is mastery of the diverse musical disciplines and styles that have been deliberately chosen for inclusion. Together they blend their sounds and timbres, at times making the darker edges razor sharp and using the full range of dynamics to explore the outer reaches of the instruments. Thus, Yeo makes his bass trombone sound huge without losing the clean articulation that so bedevils brass band players of the instrument, whilst he also delivers a plumby rounded tone in the upper register that never sounds forced or flat (another bug bear in the banding world). Hudson on the other hand is a musical chameleon who can change colour, timbre, style and tone at will - and always with impeccable musical taste. There is no other player with quite his range or abilities on the banding circuit.
"Two of a Mind" is a fine release that is continually interesting to the listener and there is a musical intelligence on show here that is a pleasure to listen to. No overblown egos (there's even a snap shot photo of Nick Hudson sporting a very nice double chin!) and as a result there is an understated class about the proceedings. Well done boys.
June 2002, Issue 88
Two terrific trombonists team up in "Two of a Mind" for a wonderful program of solos and duets marked by great variety, technical assurance, and above all, mature musical lyricism. This latter characteristic dominates.
The two Vaughan Williams transcriptions are a case in point, each of the team delivering lovely interpretations; Hudson on the short lyric solo song "Silent Noon" and Yeo on "The Call" from "Five Mystical Songs." There are three important (large-scale) works that receive readings that can be placed among those considered "definitive": Hudson's majestic approach to the Leidzen "Concertino," Yeo's splendid resurrection of the Lebedev "Concerto for Bass Trombone" and Ewazen's "Pastorale." This latter work dates from 1993 in the initial version for flute, horn and piano, but here is reworked for tenor and bass trombone with piano. This is truly beautiful music.
What I also found attractive was the alternation between band accompaniment, piano accompaniment, soloists, and duets - even the unaccompanied short duet by Michael Davis really draws you in! Douglas Yeo has been known for his high-quality, innovative recordings. This is no exception in terms of literature, interpretation, quality of accompaniments (band and piano) and in the choice of a stellar partner. I highly recommend this disc to all serious brass students, not just trombonists. in addition to your local dealer, this disc is available through both artist's website. When you get into that website you will see that Douglas Yeo has compiled comprehensive program notes for the entire disc www.yeodoug.com and www.nickhudson.com. (Ronald Holz)
30 March 2002, Issue 5189
For those that think that two virtuoso trombonists, Nick Hudson (Williams Fairey) and Douglas Yeo (bass trombone, Boston Symphony Orchestra) might be too much of a good thing, the answer would be to sample this CD. Here, surface virtuosity is eschewed in favour of lyricism and refined musicianship in a collection of items that also involves Williams Fairey Band at its discrete best, under the direction of Resident Conductor, Thomas Wyss.
The programme includes some little-known repertoire alongside familar favourites given a new slant. The programme gets off to a jazzy start with Michael Davis's "Trombone Institute of Technology," a tribute to the celebrated Eastman School of Music. This is followed by an attractive work from Salvationist Ty Watson, "Vigilant," based on a children's song. Nick Hudson solos in Erik Leidzen's "Concertino," whilst Douglas Yeo is granted a solo spot in Adrian Drover's "Mr. Nice Guy" (a title that could be bestowed upon both soloists!).
The "dynamic duo" comes together in Yeo's own arrangement of the duet from J.S. Bach's "Cantata No. 78." There are further duets in the shape of Eric Ewazen's "Pastorale" and Lawrence Wolfe's "Currents," speciallky written for Nick Hudson, Douglas Yeo and the Williams Fairey, and lighter offerings in the shape of "Fire Divine" and a seductive rendering of "My Funny Valentine." The collection also includes the firfst difinitive recording of Alexi Lebedev's "Concerto No. 1."
In addition to the tracks with Williams Fairey, there are also solos from Douglas Yeo with piano accompaniment by David Chapman. I am not certain that "The Call" (from "Five Mystical Songs") and "Silent Noon," both by Vaughan Williams work as instrumental solos, but both are played with exquisite sensitivity...The album will give great pleasure to aficionados of the trombone and general music lovers alike. (Rodney Newton)
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