CD review Third High Brass CD continues fine performances

Dave Scott, DCW staff

Since their formation in 2000, the all-brass British band High Brass has continued to excel and earn quite a reputation in Europe and the United States.

Their newest release, titled “Time For A Change,” is very exciting, featuring a tight ensemble and exceptional solo work, performing several charts written specifically for the group by legendary jazz arranger Bob Curnow. Those selections include: Chicago III Suite, Time For A Change, Scorpion Dance, Quintessence, So May It Secretly Begin and Riverdance.

Rememberance, Send in the Clowns, Here’s That Rainy Day and Malagueña, arranged by band members Tez Smith, Chris Billington and John Flannery, are also featured and equally impressive.

Bob Curnow was a trombonist with Stan Kenton in the 1960s and 1970s, while also taking on various positions such as A&R director, arranger, composer, record producer and general manager for Kenton’s Creative World Records.

He produced over 30 LPs for Kenton and his arrangements and compositions can be heard on six Stan Kenton albums. His company, Sierra Music, is the exclusive publisher of the Stan Kenton Orchestra Library. In addition, Mr. Curnow was the arranger and conductor of the widely-acclaimed big band CD, “Bob Curnow’s LA Big Band, the Music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays.”

High Brass is made up of 20 musicians with a wide background and experience in drum and bugle corps, jazz and Latin bands. The make-up of the group consists of six trumpets, four mellophones, six baritones, one tuba and three in the rhythm section, with the fantastic talents of high note screamers Tez Smith and John Flannery.

From top to bottom, High Brass is a multi-talented band that can deliver a high-energy “war horse” chart like Malagueña or a beautiful ballad like Here’s That Rainy Day with equal proficiency.

As proof of their ever-increasing talent and abilities, it should be noted that High Brass was selected out of 4,000 other applicants to perform at the up-coming world’s largest jazz conference, the 33rd International Alliance of Jazz Educators in New York City on January 12, 2006. They were the only British big band performing at this year’s event.

For more information about High Brass, check out their Web site at —

The second and third of High Brass’ CDs are available through Drum Corps World — click on “New Compact Discs” below. The CDs are in stock in Madison, WI.