License to Thrill – Joe Burgstaller


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Trumpet titan Joe Burgstaller (formerly of Canadian Brass) presents a classical compendium recording that includes Baroque, Classical, Contemporary Classical, Traditional Spiritual, Piazzolla, Chick Corea and Sting.

There has never been a trumpet album like this new “Classical with a Crossover Edge” offering from Burgstaller, whose recording success includes two recent jazz solo CDs on the JazzRadio charts and three Classical Top-10 Billboard hits with Canadian Brass. Includes “Trumpet Songs” from Grammy Winner Jennifer Higdon, plus the World-Premiere of “Ming” from Su Lian Tan.

License to Thrill

“Joe Burgstaller, a former member of Canadian Brass (July/Aug 2010: 209) and Meridian Arts Ensemble (July/Aug 1997: 205) is now trumpet professor at the Peabody Institute. He is a remarkable player who can astonish in new music of all sorts, yet he can also play old music quite beautifully. The program starts with Burgstaller’s own ‘Within’, where he spins (over drones) a mesmerizing, seemingly improvised tale that is full of fascinating sound effects-especially some amazingly supple, high-pitched half-valved ones. Next comes Bach’s version of a well-known Vivaldi violin concerto, with expert accompaniment by the renowned Anthony Newman on a harpsichord with rich tone. Four familiar songs from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess are played with heart with pianists Margaret Kampmeier and Joshua Rosenblum. And so goes the program, meandering through arrangements and original works. Meridian Arts Ensemble percussionist John Ferrari is the vibraphonist in three Children’s Songs by Chick Corea. Pianist Rosenblum is heard in Kreisler’s ‘Gypsy Caprice’, where Burgstaller plays beguilingly and very high. MAE trombonist Ben Herrington and pianist Julian Gargiulo are the collaborators in a filmnoirish ‘Lullaby’ Burgstaller composed for the MAE in 1998. Stephanie Cheng is the pianist in three lovely songs by Jennifer Higdon.

The album’s centerpiece is Ming, composed by Su Lian Tan for Burgstaller in 2012. The 12-minute work is poignant, varied, and quite Western in style-not at all the Easterninfused piece I expected. Burgstaller ends the program with an eclectic series: tango (Piazzolla’s haunting ‘Oblivion’), Mexican (trumpeter Rafael Mendez’s virtuoso version of “La Virgine de la Macarena”), spiritual (“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”), and pop (Sting’s melancholy “Secret Marriage”).

He has a round, warm, beautiful tone that I could listen to all day. Fine work by excellent collaborators.”

-American Record Guide

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