by Sylvannia Garutch
David Bandman’s CD Burn Notice is sure to make more than a ripple in the music world. This euphonium player has compiled a collection of high-energy jazz/rock/funk on this recording that demonstrates nobody plays the euphonium like he can. This turbo charged, high-octane multi-instrumentalist and composer, demonstrates the versatility and passion in which the euphonium can bring to a CD of catchy melodies and technical feats that can take your breath away.
Bandman not only plays a passionate euphonium, but on this recording he also plays: guitar, electric bass, all the trombone parts, keyboard sequencing and did the recording and editing of the entire album, now that is what I can a true, multi-instrumentalist. The euphonium is not as popular as its brass brothers, mainly the trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and tuba, but Bandman manifests ample talents and expressive lines on the instrument that would surely rival any of the before mentioned brass realities. The album opens with the blistering title track, which is a fine example of his swiftness of lines and accuracy. A blues-based quick moving melody is set to an up-tempo funk beat. Bandman’s written lines and solos are full of catchy riffs and a technical prowess that can take your breath away.
The blistering continues with “Huggin’ the Right,” featuring another riff oriented melody with tightly voiced horn hits and a distorted guitar part. Bandman turns in another searing solo on both euphonium and an excellent guitar solo (“Tuesday’s Project also has an exceptional guitar solo). The song goes through many sections and feels, but always with the same conviction and focus, keeping the track moving and entertaining. It will certainly manage to hold your interest.
The absolute hands-down, ‘fun’ song on this album, “Shankopotomus” has an infectious groove with simple, yet effective harmony, that explores time signatures in a seamless way. Bandman’s upper register playing on the euphonium is simply amazing. Though the euphonium is not regularly a part of the standard jazz big band or combo, Bandman certainly demonstrates in this project that the instrument’s technical facility and large range would be an amazing asset in any jazz ensemble. The euphonium takes on a trombone part in a jazz combo, but with added range and color, bone players should double on this instrument like saxophone players double on flute! All you composers out there, take note and listen to how fun this instrument is.
Burn Notice is an impressive performance by a remarkable musician and player. One listen to this disc and your ears will be opened to the beauty and power of the euphonium. The Euphonium historically plays an extremely important part in many marches, but if Bandman has anything to do with it, we will be hearing of super euphonium sections playing the soli segment in the hip big bands of tomorrow.