Richard Todd, horn; Billy Childs, Michael Lang, Alan Pasqua, piano; David Carpenter, Chuck Domanico, John Clayton, bass; Steve Huffsteter, trumpet; Dan Higgins, sax; Ralph Penland, drums; Alan Estes, vibes and quiro; Lenny Castro, congas; Tim May, guitar; Bob Zimmitti, vibraphone; Tommy Johnson, tuba; Frank morocco, accordion; Marcia Dickstein, harp.
Rather splendid, this one. The French Horn at its loveliest, we might guess. Richard Todd has assembled some remarkable arrangements, and not a few excellent sidemen in the production of this CD. Todd doesn't allow the obvious classical feel engendered by his instrument to hamper his Jazz leaning. Moreover, the combination of both genres is perfectly apt and is rewardingly explored. In the end, of course, it's all about tone, and you would need to be pretty uncouth to find disfavour with Richard Todd's music. The French Horn's native grandeur is given a pretty good run for its money on some tracks, and groove and swing are given full rein, but not once relinquishing the instrument's lovely warmth. One rather wonders what Miles Davis would have made of it. "Emily" (Mandel and Mercer's hymn for all middle-aged male romantics) is treated to some frankly gorgeous bowing by John Clayton. "The Days of Wine And Roses" is as heartbreaking as the film it comes from. It is little wonder that Richard Todd has been associated with Gunther Schuller, for this is music of some impressionistic degree, although some of the oblique lines are fleeting, barely discernable, almost ghost-like when they arise. It would be churlish not to mention the other musicians here for they are utterly sympathetic to what Richard Todd lays down. Which means, of course, that this is one bunch of great players. A beautiful CD. Very highly recommended.
by Lawrence Brazier
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