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Brass Reality by Paul Smoker

Trumpeter Paul Smoker’s Brass Reality was released in 2000. It sometimes takes some catching up to realize the importance of a disc. The concept here is to combine trumpet, trombone and percussion, and explore all the possibilities therein. Smoker has performed and recorded with Anthony Braxton, among others, so he certainly knows his way around a melody via the back door. With Herb Robertson on trumpet, valve trombone and E-flat tuba, David Taylor on bass trombone and B B-flat tuba and Phil Haynes on percussion, Smoker ably demonstrates the art of the brass. The opening "Solo Prelude" is an exquisite solo workout by Smoker utilizing the full scale of the trumpet. The program intensifies with the addition of the other principals beginning with the following "Fractals, Part 1." The players are clearly proficient with a knack for imagery and playfulness, though the sense of seriousness is never lost. Smoker and compatriots explore the breadth and scope of emotion and technical possibility that brass players rarely even scratch. Brass Reality is a sandblasted brass bas relief.

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