SOMM CD0663 [73’03]

We discovered the Art Deco Trio with their impressive debut album ‘Gershwinicity’ a couple of years ago, and here they are again in a release that is largely fun from beginning to end.

This time the piano, clarinet and saxophone combination perform pianist Iain Farrington’s dazzling jazz-accented arrangements of a dozen popular classical pieces, three sea shanties and five American/African spirituals.

So, here are the likes of The Bite of the Flumblebee (after Rimsky-Korsakov), Valerie Takes a Ride (after Wagner), Elise’s Blues (after Beethoven), Arrival Revival (after Handel), Jiffy Dance (after Bizet), Hungarian High-Five and 3am Lullaby (after Brahms) – other composers getting a makeover are Elgar, Satie and Vivaldi – What Shall We Do with the Drunken SailorSailor’s HornpipeAmazing GraceSteal Away and Every Time I Feel the Spirit.

The arranger certainly succeeds in what he writes in his explanatory booklet notes of translating the work’s “original sober environment into one that was more intoxicated”. And Messrs Peter Sparks, Kyle Horch and Farrington’s playing throughout these first recordings is marvellous.

SOMM are a renowned innovative label and will surely put a smile on the faces of a lot of listeners with this album. Let us hope we do not have to wait another two years for a third ADT release.

© Peter Burt 2023

Regular readers of this feature will probably remember the earlier CD for which Peter and myself wrote reviews back in 2021 (SOMM CD0632) entitled Gershwinicity.

On this brand-new release, the brilliant members of the Art Deco Trio are once again ‘doing their stuff’ with a very varied programme spotlighting the indisputable talents of the three musicians.

Peter Sparks has performed with several leading British orchestras, both as principal clarinettist and concerto soloist, and is also active in the field of wind ensemble and chamber music. At the time of writing, he plays principal clarinet with English National Opera.

Saxophonist Kyle Horch plays on soprano alto, and tenor instruments on different tracks here. He maintains an active career as a freelance musician across a wide range, including chamber, orchestral, contemporary and light music. His long and impressive list of credentials includes saxophone Professorship at London’s Royal College of Music, Visiting Saxophone Consultant at Birmingham Conservatoire and saxophone teacher at Royal Holloway College, University of London.

The Trio’s pianist, Iain Farrington, pursues a busy and diverse career as an organist, pianist, composer and arranger; it is he who made all the ingenious arrangements. He has performed at all major venues in the UK – and overseas in the USA, Mexico, Japan, South Africa, Malaysia, Hong Kong and across Europe. Amongst his many achievements are performances of his own solo piano arrangements of Mahler symphonies.

As Peter Burt suggests above, their programme is bound to get listeners smiling from the very beginning – not least because of the ‘fun’ titles of the first twelve tracks. I have hardly stopped listening to it since my copy arrived in the post!

I would also echo Peter’s remarks regarding SOMM Records and its imaginative and enterprising founder, Siva Oke, who has once again produced what I am certain will be another winner!

© Tony Clayden 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *