A Bach Notebook - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - Brass Band World

Trumpeter Jonathan Freeman-Attood is the epitome of the musical polymath, leading a successful life as a performer, educator, wrier, record producer and academic. In collaboration with pianist and arranger Daniel-Ben Pienaar, his A Bach Notebook for Trumpet, recorded on Linn records, is no the piece of authenticity-driven performance practice that band audiences will perhaps expect from a soloist of his background. Instead we are presented with a realisation of the sound-world that generations of composing Bachs may have been drawn to, had they had access to what we know as a modern piano and chromatic trumpet with a well-established solo tradition.

Pinaar's arrangements of work by the great J.S. Bach, his great uncle, cousins and five sons (numbering ten Bachs in all) are skilfully crafted and delicately weave a solo trumpet line into music that, in many places, was conceived as solo keyboard music. It's an interesting approach to reconstruction that, when reading about rather than experiencing, one would be forgiven for thinking may distort the purity of line from the original. The end result could not be further from the truth. Freeman-Attwood's warm tone and crystalline articulation in fact blends beautifully with the piano, whilst the sense of synergy between the two performers keeps the listener focused on the direction of the music, with the new, colourful landscape of timbre serving to augment rather than distract. In essence, the entire album is lifted away from the ‘solo release' genre, and into a categorisation with higher musical concerns.

A Bach Notebook for Trumpet is not the kind of release that I would expect to find on the shelves of an average brass band CD collection. However, if you are a listener with an open mind, a young performer looking for some alternative inspiration or simply a lover of melody in its purest form, this may well be the disc for you.

Brass Band World
01 April 2013