John Philip Sousa lived from 1854 to 1932. He was therefore not present among the Band of the Grenadier Guards, whose album of 25 Sousa marches was released by Elektra/Asylum in 1995. Sousa's brilliantly conceived and remarkably precise compositions, when rendered by an ensemble of this caliber, still convey the refreshing integrity and unity of purpose that caused his music to become so immensely popular at the end of the 19th century. Its appeal (among those who are so inclined) never diminished throughout the 20th century and has continued unabated into the 21st. There are two ways to listen to Sousa, and both are highly recommended. First, track down historical recordings of John Philip Sousa leading his own band. Next, treat yourself to a modern album of interpretations, preferably played by the Band of the Grenadier Guards. A third joyous possibility exists in the form of Anthony Braxton's ambitious experiment in the Sousa-based march form, as realized on Braxton's excellent albums Creative Orchestra Music 1976 and Creative Orchestra (Koln) 1978. Braxton's adventuresome extensions of the tradition are mentioned in order to emphasize the fact that there are no limits to the possibilities suggested by the music of John Philip Sousa.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf