Suresh Singaratnam

Two Hundred Sixty-One, Vol. 1

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Who is Suresh? asks the website of this young trumpeter, who is not Indian but a Canadian of Zambian background. Suresh Singaratnam later moved to New York and pursued studies in both classical and jazz trumpet. His teachers on both sides are unimpeachable, including Vincent Penzarella and Canadian Brass player Jens Lindemann on the classical side and no less than Wynton Marsalis for jazz, which Singaratnam has also recorded. Two Hundred Sixty-One, Vol. 1, whose title goes unexplained on the packaging, is his classical debut. Singaratnam has no shortage of promotional ideas, and he has said that if a million copies of this release are sold, he will donate $2 million to cancer research. This offer aside, what this trumpet-and-piano recital reveals is a fine developing soloist with serious speed (try the impressive Flight of the Bumblebee transcription, track 3, and Jean-Baptiste Arban's Variations on Carnival of Venice, track 7), a reasonable feel for Hindemith's precise and somber idiom in the last movement of the Sonata for trumpet and piano, and a somewhat less than pearly cantabile. Independent, non-institutional promotional energy and genre crossing are both necessary commodities in today's world of classical music, and for these Suresh deserves kudos. A curious aspect of the recital is that it is barely half an hour long; another is that a CD meant to introduce a new performer contains no booklet.

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