Talking Horns,
Born to Be Horn
(Westpark, 2008)

This German quartet is difficult to classify. There are 21(!) tracks on Born to Be Horn, consisting of pieces that are three to four minutes long interspersed with shorter ones of one or two minutes, totaling more than an hour.

All the shorter pieces are by the quartet, as well as most of the longer ones. Three have been adapted from Bach, Ravel and Vulpius, but with more of a rhythm. There are many influences throughout this melodic, stately CD, including pop, jazz, Latin and funk.

It is all horns (including saxes and clarinets) except for a bit of percussion. They include trombone, bass trombone, tenor horn, tuba, flugelhorn, bass trumpet, bass clarinet, flute and soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax.

The tunes are modern without being avant-garde. With four horns, everything has to be carefully arranged or it would be chaotic. The horns do "talk" a bit, but the sounds are like the grunts or squeals of classic jazz, never leaving the melody neglected for long.

Having tuba or lower-pitched horns holding the bass lines limits the speed of the music. There are some cool tuba solos, though. "Sawa Sawa" has flute, tuba and other horns, which is not something you hear everyday.

There have been many classic crossover CDs, but few if any have so many ideas and clever arrangements. You won't mourn buying Born to Be Horn.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Dave Howell

13 September 2008

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