'Brass' gives solid performance

From its elegant entrance to the tune of "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" to its soulful jazz encore of "Echoes of Harlem," Canadian Brass offered an evening of delightful music and good humor Saturday at the Lied Center.

The quintet wasted no time setting the mood for the evening as tuba player Charles Daellenbach took the stage to introduce the first number and tell a few jokes. From there, the horn players serenaded the audience with their extraordinary musical stylings on pieces ranging from classical Bach to standards by Glenn Miller.

The five musicians produced a full, robust sound, relying only on a tuba, trombone, French horn and two trumpets. Solos from various members (a highlight was Jeff Nelsen's piece for French horn) highlighted the talents of individual musicians. Occasionally the group introduced a piccolo trumpet, played expertly by Josef Burgstaller, that added a unique sound to its already rich repertoire.

The first set of the program was composed of classical arrangements, which Daellenbach amusingly introduced. He also provided relevant history and anecdotes for the pieces, which helped the audience understand the context. Capping off the high-energy set were selections from "A Celebration of Luther Henderson" that included a fantastic rendition of the jazz classic "Ain't Misbehavin''" complete with choreography that led the audience into intermission anxious for more.

The fabulous five opened the second set with a medley of classic Glenn Miller pieces, including "Moonlight Serenade" and a divine performance of "Danny Boy."

The finale of the concert was a crash course in music from the opera "Carmen." As Daellenbach introduced the basic story line for the opera, the other members of the quintet used hats and wigs to act out the characters. The end result was a spectacular sound and an entertaining skit that delighted the audience to the point of ovation.

There seems to be no limit to the sounds and styles these musicians can produce with their "gold-plated Yamaha instruments." Their mastery of music combined with their witty stage presence make Canadian Brass a quintet worth seeing.

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