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The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble: Pragmatic Optimism

- CD Reviews

The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble: Pragmatic Optimism
2006 The Brooklyn Four Plus One Inc.
Producer: Wade Barnes

Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch, Vocals
James Zollar, Trumpet
Vincent Chancey, French Horn
Mark Taylor, Mellophone
Kiane Zawadi, Euphonium
Dale Turk, Bass Trombone
Ralph Hamperian, Tuba
McDonald Payne, Clarinet
Tom Olin, Soprano Saxophone
Hayes Greenfield, Alto Saxophone
Mario Escalera, Tenor Saxophone
Don Slatoff, Baritone Saxophone
William Ware, III, Vibraphone
Yoshiki Miura, Guitar
John Nam, Piano
Ratzo Harris, Bass
Wade Barnes, Drums, Director

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 24, 2006

This orchestral jazz CD is an exceptionally interesting fusion of smooth vocals, blazing brass, scintillating guitar, and some very rare instruments, such as Mellophone and Euphonium. Wade Barnes, Producer, of Brooklyn Four Plus One Inc., has composed half of the 10 tracks, with other composers, such as Bob Dylan and Oliver Nelson, represented as well.

Notable tracks:

#1 – Blowin’ in the Wind – Composed by Bob Dylan. With a bass lead, soft drums, and piano, the music and momentum build with gospel infused vocals and definitive brass rhythms. Tuliva-Donna Cumberbatch has a deep, resonant voice, and John Nam’s piano lead, followed by Yoshiki Miura’s guitar, take the song to new interpretive dimensions.

#4 – The Power of Feeling – Composed by Wade Barnes. A repetitive lead defines the theme and tone of this first of two connected pieces. A decidedly Big Band musicality ensues, before pausing for a generous guitar swing solo, followed by saxophones and vibes.

#5 – The Power of Thought – Composed by Wade Barnes. A tuba lead merges to a collaboration of brass, piano, and then full Ensemble. The tempo and mood build, before vibes and guitar fade the track out slowly and surreally.

#9 – Body and Soul – Composed by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton, and John Green. Ms. Cumberbatch brings new meaning to this standard, as she improvises and elongates the romantic lyrics. The full Ensemble backs her up without overwhelming the vocals, just as Miura’s guitar and then Nam’s piano play soft, bossa nova solos.

See Broadway shows this year such as the award winning Wicked Tickets, or other hot shows like Mamma Mia tickets which has come in strong. Or perhaps a concert is your fancy, better get your Hannah Montana Tickets now before they sell out.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at