Buddy DeFranco / Rolf K: The Three Sopranos (2002)

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Sopranos or pretenders, it really doesn’t matter — there’s no need to split hairs when three of the world’s most renowned clarinetists are onstage, backed by one of Germany’s most accomplished contemporary big bands. Far better to disregard labels, loosen up and simply groove to the wonderful music produced by Messrs. Buddy DeFranco, Rolf Kühn, Eddie Daniels and the roaring hr Big Band from Hessen. The Three Sopranos is about as close to a clarinet enthusiast’s heaven as one can come these days, with one, two or all three of these consummate maestros showcased on every one of its eleven colorful tracks. DeFranco flies solo on Jerome Kern’s “Why Was I Born,” Kühn on “Falling in Love with Love” and “Lover Man,” Daniels on two of his breezy compositions, “Stride Rite” and “We’ll Always Be Together.” Daniels pairs with Kühn on “Seeing Salinas Again” and Dizzy’s “Groovin’ High,” with DeFranco on Bird’s “Scrapple from the Apple,” and everyone has his say on “Just Friends,” DeFranco’s “Too Trite” and Kühn’s “To the Point.” The charts, by DeFranco, music director Jörg Achim Keller, Manfred Honetschläger, Torsten Maass, Dietmar Mensinger and Walt Stuart, are first-class, and the band gives each of them its unbroken consideration. As for the soloists, it’s unnecessary to point out (but we’ll do so anyway) that they don’t come much better than this. Solo credits are given but my ears and awareness of stylistic variations aren’t sharp enough to affirm that they appear in the exact order as taken. No matter, as everyone swings his keister, and seen in that light the differences between the principals are relatively unimportant. Soprano, tenor, or baritone, it makes no difference; the album is an unequivocal pleasure, thanks to spirited blowing by the virtuosic headliners and unfaltering help from the supporting cast.

Contact: hr Media, Bertramstrasse 8, D–60320, Frankfurt, Germany. e–mail hallo@hr–musik.de or bclauss@hr–online.de

Track Listing: Seeing Salinas Again; Stride Rite; Falling in Love with You; Why Was I Born; Just Friends; Groovin

Personnel: Buddy DeFranco, Rolf K

Record Label: hrMedia

Style: Big Band


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