22 May Boston Brass Resounds in Palladium
The program consisted of highly original and often jazz -flavored arrangements of holiday favorites, including Joy to the World, The Nutcracker Dances (from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker), The Twelve Days of Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, White Christmasand some original material, all of which showed off the group’s wide-ranging versatility and musicianship.
An unexpected yet welcome feature of the concert was the light, irreverent and sometimes even raucous tone set by various personable members of the quintet, and also by other musicians who introduced selections. This worked well, creating a welcome relief from the usual staid holiday fare.
Boston Brass consists of Jeff Conner on trumpet, Jose Sibaja on trumpet, Chris Castellanos on French horn, Lance LaDuke on trombone and euphonium and Andrew Hitz on tuba. They were accompanied by David Cutler on piano and Dan Hostetler on drums.
Joining them especially for this concert were guest musicians Joey Tartell on trumpet, Fred Powell on trumpet, Juan Berrios on horn, Kelley Langenberg on horn, Harry Watters on trombone, Gerry Amoury on bass trombone and percussionist Dean Appleman.
Based on the effectiveness of their jokes, several of these musicians could successfully moonlight as standup comedians. LaDuke, in particular, was hilarious whenever he came to the microphone and when he sang a song he wrote about the “fourth” wise man, Dan the Unwise Man.
Adding to the uniqueness of this concert was the enormous creative talent of Cutler (author of The Savvy Musician), who performed an extraordinary jazz-infused improvised piano solo he titled A New Orleans Christmas Tree.
Later, Cutler warned the audience that they were going to hear O Come All Ye Faithful like they’d never heard it before, prior to leading the musicians in a composition commissioned by the Boston Band that was called Faithful, another of his jazz-inspired creations that was as powerful as it was innovative.
Other highlights were Watters’ soulful trombone solo in I’ll Be Home for Christmas and at the conclusion of the concert when Berrios played a horn solo during the entire group’s salsa-flavored rendition of Greensleeves.
For tickets and information about upcoming Palladium performances, call the Center for the Performing Arts ticket office at (317) 843-3800 or visitwww.centerfortheperformingarts.org.
— Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner