Bobby Shew

Music of John Harmon

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This session is trumpet soloist Bobby Shew's tribute to his friend, composer and pianist Harmon. Harmon, a composer on faculty at the University of Wisconsin, wrote all the music here. The music is strictly within the romantic school of academic composition, which suits Shew perfectly. With his broad, rich sound he revels in Harmon's melodies, especially on the pieces for orchestra and wind ensemble. As a central player, Shew dramatizes each piece, whether it is sentimental like "A Father's Dream," jubilant like "Mustang," or defiant like "Quixote." The session is also a fine showcase for the student musicians at Lawrence, who acquit themselves well on the moderately difficult pieces. They more than hit the right musical notes, they also do their best to strike the right emotional tones. All that said, the best of Harmon is heard on the tracks featuring him and Shew, and especially when he is soloing. As he demonstrated on his self-produced 1998 solo session, Rite of Passage, he is capable of great emotional and textural nuance, with subtleties largely lost in the large ensemble.

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