(Westpark, 2008)

Alphorns are the long, long horns that are perhaps best known from the Riccola cough drop commercials, or from classic films when a king is presented. They have a four-octave range. Still, you would not think much could be done with three alphorns and a female singer (along with drums on three cuts and recorder on one).

You would be wrong, as this wonderful CD proves.

Alpha has a great sense of humor, as they prove tackling songs as diverse as "La Paloma," "Jambalya" and "These Boots are Made for Walking." These versions have to be heard to be believed. Most of the other 14 cuts are lighthearted but more classical, with clever arrangements. Many have an early music sound.

Alphorns must be difficult to play, but as with all great artists, the three players here make it seem easy. At times on this CD they sound like trumpets, and at others they have a lower pitch often used for a drone-like effect.

You might call this a novelty CD, but it is a great novelty CD. "Jazzy, groovy, joyous, offbeat -- and experimental" is how their CDBaby site describes it. I couldn't agree more, except for the title. How about "Alp is on the Way," "You Need Alp!" or "Alp Yourself"? Just a thought.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Dave Howell

8 November 2008

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