Hubert Laws

Hubert Laws Plays Bach for Barone & Baker

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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

As a tribute to his mentors and friends Clement Barone, Jr., and Julius Baker, Hubert Laws' 2005 Bach album is undoubtedly sincere, and shaped to reflect both his personal style and what he feels is the artistic tradition imparted by these influential performers and teachers. However, listeners unfamiliar with Laws' work -- a balancing act between classical and jazz styles -- may find this album too much of an experiment in quasi-Baroque easy listening, and insufficiently rigorous or authentic to qualify as a serious contribution. Bach's Six Flute Sonatas are played with more than a few liberties, most prominently in the synthesized accompaniments provided by David Budway, but also in Laws' slight blues inflections and acoustic modifications of the flute's sonorities. If one knows in advance that Laws and Budway have updated these pieces to appeal to the crossover or adult contemporary audience, then it is easy to decide for or against this set as a matter of taste. But the bonus track, a sugary hybrid arrangement for flute and orchestra of the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria and Schubert's Ave Maria, is a complete failure, and unwisely programmed first; if anything makes this album unpalatable, this saccharine offering does the job. The reproduction is overly boosted and too loud throughout.

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