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Hot Hot Hot / Denver Brass

Montenegro / Lecuona / Denver Brass / Graham
Release Date: 01/31/2012 
Label:  Klavier Records   Catalog #: 77040   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Hugo MontenegroAstor PiazzollaArturo MárquezDizzy Gillespie,   ... 
Performer:  Al HoodBen JansenDawn Kramer
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Denver Brass
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HOT, HOT, HOT Lowell Graham, cond; Denver Brass KLAVIER 77040 (74:33)


Selections by MONTENEGRO, LECUONA, PIAZZOLLA, MARQUEZ, GILLESPIE-POZO, MULLINS, MARQUINA, GRUISIN, VELASQUEZ, CASSELL, PRORAK, HOLMAN, PUENTE, YUPANQUI, PRADO, GINASTERA


I put this CD on to try to lift my spirits after the “Debbie Downer” experience of Susanna Wallumrød’s album If Grief Could Wait (reviewed elsewhere in this Read more issue). To some extent, it did: Lowell Graham’s Denver Brass plays these scores with surprising gusto for a classical ensemble. Malagueña features a surprisingly hot trumpet solo by F. Joseph Docksey, Antonio Marquez’s Danzón No. 2 moves with a subtle swagger, and Dizzy Gillespie’s Cuban-jazz classic Manteca moves at a good pace.


So, in a sense, this disc is more of a success than Wallumrød’s, but I must point out in fairness that it is not an unqualified success. Just as Wallumrød is a pop singer attempting classical lute song material, the Denver Brass is a classical ensemble moving into the Latin-pop-jazz orbit, and there is just enough smoothness and hesitancy to really cut loose that makes the listening experience several hairs short of a full wig. Mind you, they are not alone; pops orchestras coast to coast tend to fall short of this goal, just as Arthur Fiedler did when his orchestra played any kind of pop music other than the semiclassical works of Leroy Anderson. Go back to that performance of Manteca , for instance, and if you’re not familiar with it, hie thee to the nearest library and take out Gillespie’s original 1946 recording. You may be astonished to hear such a combination of explosive rhythms and generally precise playing from a “mere” jazz band, but Dizzy rehearsed his troops meticulously and got them to perform at a very high level (though the sax section never quite blended properly). By contrast, the Denver Brass’s Manteca is hot, just one “hot,” not three, and with a small h.


Of course, the semiclassical numbers in this collection do work wonderfully well. The Denver Brass is not entirely devoid of a fun spirit, and I hope I did not imply that. They just don’t have that cut-loose gusto that real Latin bands do. Nor is the album a complete wash; the performances of La Sangre Derremada and the suite from The Milagro Beanfield War are quite beautiful in their smooth, understated way and, despite a certain amount of holding back emotionally, the performance of the title track is surprisingly enthusiastic—perhaps two “hots” instead of just one. Que Rico Mambo is taken at an even slightly faster clip than Perez Prado’s own recording, and it does indeed have a certain swagger, but put on Prado’s original version and you’re up and dancing even if you’re a cripple in a wheelchair. The difference? It’s in the “kickback” in the beat of the off-rhythm trumpet figures. The Denver Brass plays them cleanly. Prado played them jazzy.


All of which goes to prove that very few classical musicians are Joanna MacGregor (whose CD of Moondog pieces really kicked butt). I give it three stars, just for trying.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Fanfare for the New by Hugo Montenegro
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Denver Brass
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
2. Libertango by Astor Piazzolla
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
3. Danzón no 2 by Arturo Márquez
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; Mexico 
Length: 9 Minutes 23 Secs. 
4. Manteca by Dizzy Gillespie
Performer:  Al Hood (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
5. The Milagro Beanfield War, suite: Coyote Angel by Dave Grusin
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1988 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
6. The Milagro Beanfield War, suite: Milagro by Dave Grusin
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1988 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
7. The Milagro Beanfield War, suite: Fiesta by Dave Grusin
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1988 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
8. Besame Mucho by Consuelo Velazquez
Performer:  Ben Jansen (Piano)
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
9. Hot Hot Hot by Alphonsus Cassell
Performer:  Dawn Kramer (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
10. Circular Illogic by Don Prorak
Performer:  Ben Jansen (Piano), Dawn Kramer (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 5 Minutes 56 Secs. 
11. Woodbrook Jam by Ray Holman
Performer:  Al Hood (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
12. Picadillo by Tito Puente
Performer:  Ben Jansen (Piano)
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 41 Secs. 
13. Duerme Negrito by Atahualpa Yupanqui
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Modern 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
14. Que rico mambo by Perez Prado
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Modern 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
15. Estancia: Danza Final by Alberto Ginastera
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Modern 
Written: 1941; Argentina 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
16. Malagueña, song for voice & piano by Ernesto Lecuona
Performer:  Al Hood (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
Period: Modern 
Written: 1928 
Length: 4 Minutes 55 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Fanfare for the New
Andalucia, "Suite espagnola": VI. Malaguena (arr. B. Hollman and J. Van Hoy)
Libertango (arr. J. Craig)
Danzon No. 2 (arr. J. Van Hoy)
Manteca (arr. T. Klatka)
La Sangre Derramada - Espana Cani (arr. K. Singleton)
Suite from The Milagro Beanfield War (arr. A. Nevala): I. Coyote Angel
Suite from The Milagro Beanfield War (arr. A. Nevala): II. Milagro
Suite from The Milagro Beanfield War (arr. A. Nevala): III. Fiesta
Besame Mucho (arr. T. Miller)
Hot Hot Hot (arr. A. Nevala)
Circular Illogic
Woodbrook Jam (arr. T. Miller)
Picadillo (A. Nevala)
Duerme Negrito (arr. A. Wolfe)
Mambo Jambo, "Que rico el mambo!" (arr. A. Nevala)
Estancia Suite, Op. 8a: IV. Malambo (arr. J. Van Hoy): Estancia Suite, Op. 8a: IV. Malambo (arr. J. Van Hoy)

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