The Great American Song Book

The Great American Song Book

Harry Watters, Trombone 

Salt River Brass 

MD: Patrick Sheridan 

Soundset Recordings: SR1070

If you are looking for something different then this is it, and how different!

The Salt River Brass which is based in Arizona USA was founded 30 years ago and from 2001 to 2003 the world famous Tuba soloist Patrick Sheridan was the band's guest conductor. In 2003 his position with the band was elevated to being the band's principal conductor, and then in 2005 he was appoointed the band's musical director. 

The band is based on our traditional British Brass Band; but over the years they evolved into a quasi Symphonic big band whilst utilising Trumpets, French Horns, Sousaphone and complete Rhythm Section. Their repertoire is extremely varied, but here is centred on big band arrangements of songs by Cole Porter, Rodgers, Lerner and Loewe etc which they perform in stylistically superb.

This particular CD features Guest Soloist’ Harry Watters on Trombone and what a remarkable exponent of his instrument he is in superb performances demonstrating incredible technique, range and stylistic variations.

Many of these tracks have been arranged or orchestrated by Patrick himself which, together with an outstandingly effective but controlled Rhythm Section produce this wonderful big band sound a la Stan Kenton et al. The programming of these tracks is well considered with alternate, often laid-back styles the soloist the opportunity to display his warm and luscious touches contrasting his much more energetic and superb technical mastery.

One of several ‘stand-out tracks’ is the stunning opener You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To which, if you were expecting to hear brass band programme, immediately demonstrates what is to follow!. Another outstanding track is Billy Joel’s  And So It Goes, wonderful trombone playing and accompaniments in some truly lovely playing of Patrick’s excellent arrangement.

Rhythm, Swing and outstanding improvisation is the nature of most of the tracks, but yet again light relief comes with another lovely ballad in Rodgers and Hart’s My Funny Valentine

This really has been a pleasure to review, and, although I’m sure many brass band purists may not be quite so impressed, one can only marvel at the quality of the style, technique and performance of this remarkable ensemble and the quite brilliant Harry Watters

Wow, that really was different -------- but I loved it!!


1. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To - Cole Porter Arr: Patrick Sheridan [3.10]

2. All Of Me - Gerald Marks & Seymour Simons Arr: Billy Byers Orch: Patrick Sheridan [4.21]

3. And So It Goes - Billy Joel Arr: Patrick Sheridan [7.09]

4. Nice To Meet You - John Clayton Arr: Patrick Sheridan [5.03]

5. Love Is Here To Stay - George Gershwin Arr: Nelson Riddle Orch Patrick Sheridan [2.40]

6. Lover Man - Jimmy Davis, Roger Ramirez & James Sherman Arr: Jack Cortner [5.13]

7. On The Street Where You Live - Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe Arr: Jerry Nowak Orch: Patrick Sheridan [3.09]

8. Laura - David Raksin Arr: Dan Bukvich [6.57]

9. Donna Lee - Charlie Parker Arr: Bill Reichenbach Orch: Patrick Sheridan [4.05]

10. My Funny Valentine - Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart Arr: Sam Pilafian [5.32]

11. St Louis Blues - W.C.Handy Arr: Wycliffe Gordon [5.24]

12. Angel Eyes - Matt Dennis & Earl Brent Arr: Sam Pilafian [7.44]

13. Happy - Pharrell Williams Arr: Dan Bukvich Orch: Patrick Sheridan [4.54]

J Stuart Fawcett

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