CD: Joe Cook - Debut 2Joseph Cook (Eb Tuba) | Manger Musikklag | Conductor: Allan Withington
Doyen: DOY CD374
Anyone that has spent 14 years as a principal player with Black Dyke Band deserves immense recognition within the brass playing fraternity and Joe Cook gets just that. His shy, quiet persona is betrayed the moment he picks up his tuba, and everything from that point on is totally engaging and full of musical flair. The arrival of his second solo album is both exciting and overdue, some nine years after his first.
There are two especially composed items. Firstly, On The Run by Norwegian composer, Fredrick Schjelderup, is a ‘tour-de-force’ for both soloist and the band, and starts with a dark, cinematic atmosphere before flooding into faster music that is technically brilliant from both parties. The other new commission, Lights on the Tyne, is noted as having been influenced by both the composer and soloist’s shared fondness of ballads by musicians such as Mark Knopfler and Chris Rea. This suits Joe’s lyrical style perfectly and I’m sure will be popular with tuba players everywhere.
Derek Bourgeois wrote his Tuba Concerto No. 2 in 2014 at the request of soloist David Carter. The music contains all the expected quirks and humour that we have come to expect of the music of Bourgeois since we first heard his Blitz in 1981. Again, this is a showpiece for both the soloist and band, and in Manger Musikklag and Allan Withington, Joe Cook has a backing ensemble that plays with both great character and sensitivity. The remaining items could be described as eclectic to say the least.
From Roger Payne’s Suite in Blue, a quartet for tubas for which Joe is joined by his Manger bass colleagues, to The Grumpy Troll by Michael Forbes, an unaccompanied piece depicting the sounds and actions of what a disturbed Norwegian Troll would be like, there is something for all tastes. However, the highlight of the whole disc for this listener is the arrangement of the Nat King Cole song Nature Boy. The setting by Tina Kvamme shows great imagination and uses the band sound resources (and some vocals) to a quite amazing effect, and this is matched by some gorgeous playing from the soloist.
In the inlay notes, Nicholas Childs describes the album as “allowing Joseph’s beautifully lyrical sound to sing through, whilst also showing the dexterity of his virtuoso playing.” I would agree!
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