Picks and Pans Review: Strike Up the Band

updated 01/25/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/25/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Canadian Brass

Take two trumpets, a French horn, a trombone and a tuba, sic 'em on a passle of Gershwin tunes, and what do you get? A bright and bounding collection, it turns out. This Toronto-based ensemble adapted these songs smartly. The arrangements are often clever, especially those for the Preludes for Piano. The Canadian Brass's name sounds painful, conjuring images of six guys wandering around the Yukon with their instruments stuck to their lips. But their music is played con gusto, right from the brisk hand claps that kick the title track into gear. The group fares poorly on such ballads as Someone to Watch Over Me, which get reverently solemn. The suite from Porgy and Bess that fills the second side finds its footing only in fits and starts. Other selections, among them a medley of Clap Yo' Hands, Fidgety Feet, Fascinating Rhythm and I Got Rhythm, capture the raggy blend of jazz and pop that is such a unique quality of Gershwin's work. (Red Seal/RCA)

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