The three Copland classics on this disc–Billy the Kid, Appalachian Spring and Rodeo–are all ballet scores, and from the very first bars of Billy, with its evocative depiction of the wide-open prairies, you are firmly in the territory of music that tells a story. But you don't need to follow all the ins and outs of each story to enjoy music which paints as vivid a picture of rural America as you could hope for. If the sprightly "Hoe Down" from Rodeo brings a splash of colour to concert programmes, the remarkable thing about so much of the music in these three pieces is how quietly sensitive it is. And while Michael Tilson Thomas does not hold back in wringing every last ounce of splashy razzmatazz, he is equally the master of introspective music which clearly demonstrates that you don't need to be loud to be a populist. The recordings were made in the San Francisco Symphony's home, Davies Symphony Hall. You couldn't hope for more authentic performances than this–more than 76 minutes of dyed-in-the-wool Americana.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. We'd hate to get caught in the force of a baritone explosion – as the horns are so big, that's a lot of metal to have to deal with! Fortunately, pianist Rein De Graaf's got the proceedings here on rock-solid territory – providing just the right sort of swing to keep things moving, yet also keep things in control – while both Ronnie Cuber and Nick Brigola open up on the bigger horns – reminding us why they're some of the few players able to carry forward the deftly soulful legacies of earlier baritone greats like Pepper Adams or Serge Chaloff! The album's a live one, and tracks are nice and long – plenty of room for solos on titles that include "Caravan", "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise", "Crack Down", "Night In Tunisia", and "Blue Train" – plus two short beautiful ballads, "What's New" and "In A Sentimental Mood".