Canadian Brass

Stars & Stripes

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In Stars and Stripes: Canadian Brass Salute America, the popular brass quintet serves up a program of the most famous patriotic tunes, including the Sousa march of the title and other marches and songs from United States history, and adds some Canadian pride at the end with a rendition of O Canada. This is the kind of bright, upbeat entertainment Canadian Brass excels at, and the arrangements of such standards as Battle Hymn of the Republic, America the Beautiful, and My Country, 'Tis of Thee are freshly conceived and in many cases made more stirring through the new presentation. Included also are medleys of the United States military anthems and patriotic songs by George M. Cohan, so there are actually more melodies than the number of tracks might suggest. There are a few touches of the group's characteristic humor, but because the mood of the album is overwhelmingly martial and often dignified, this is controlled and there are no silly hijinks to take away from the album's respectful tone. In addition to the familiar brass instruments, replica drums, and percussion appropriate to the respective historical periods are used, and the big sound of a marching band is approximated in many spots, thanks to resonant acoustics and exceptional recording and mixing.

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