A Die letzte Posaune Production, CD 83175
Read CORNERSTONE Program Notes | Order CORNERSTONE | Read reviews of CORNERSTONE
Douglas Yeo is internationally renowned as one of the world's finest bass trombonists. He has produced in this CD a selection of beautifully arranged gospel melodies. His many performances in church services and meetings and his personal christian commitment are reflected in the choices. Salvationists and bass trombonists from other churches will find much of the material particularly interesting as it will provide them with access to some very well arranged solo material for their own use.
As to the wider appeal, Douglas has provided a fine example to all bass trombonists (and brass players in general) of musicianship, tone control and excellent breathing.
Slow melodies are the cornerstone (forgive the pun) of good controlled playing and many players try to hide their weaknesses in displays of showy technical fireworks. Not so Douglas.
We all know that he has superb technique and range, with the ability to play the most demanding and challenging music. But here is the controlled work of a master musician. Everyone can learn from listening to the quality of playing on this disc. The excellent piano accompaniments (many played by the arrangers) are also quite inspirational and prove that a partnership of quality is essential to good performance. (Alwyn Green)
Cornerstone is a devotional album consisting of arrangements for bass trombone and piano of gospel songs, traditional hymns, and contemporary Christian praise choruses. The music is supplemented by three readings crafted from scriptures related to the texts of the songs from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Douglas Yeo, bass trombonist with the Boston Symphony, has obviously crafted a recording that is a labor of love. This collection serves as an evangelical witness to his deeply held Christian beliefs and as a fine example of his lyrical musicianship. The labor of love extends from his spiritual life to include his familial and personal relationships. Pianists for the album include Yeo's wife, Patricia Yeo and family and church friends including Stephen E. Gerber, Wes Ross, and gospel music composer Beatrice Bush Bixler. The scripture readings are rendered beautifully by a voice famous for the past 5 decades in Christian circles. Bill Pearce, the well known jazz/gospel trombonist with 30 recordings to his credit and 50 years of ministry in radio, provides a venerable and beautiful vocal tone to the readings.
This compact disc is consistent in style and message through all 16 tracks. There are no virtuoso displays, no complex variations of the tunes, and no attempt to bring undue attention to the performers. The goal is to provide simple, yet beautiful, performances of simple tunes with a straightforward and a non-apologetic message of hope and promise. For the trombone performer, the rich, velvety tone and the immaculate phrasing will be worth the purchase price. In the prodigious craft of Yeo, the bass trombone is an instrument capable of lyrical playing on the level of the cello of Leonard Rose or the euphonium of Brian Bowman. There are no flaws of intonation, tone, or technique on any of the tracks. Several selections employ overdubbing to allow Yeo to electronically perform duet versions of the tunes. While the arrangements are similar and all have musical merit, there are several good examples of the different shading of lyricism on this recording. "His Eye is on the Sparrow" has inflections of blues style that are reminiscent of Ethel Waters. "Come Unto Him" is particularly lovely in the duo section and the narration is a perfect foil to the warm and sensitive playing. The title track "Cornerstone" is indicative of the definitive pastoral performance that awaits the listener in this remarkably sensitive, yet simple recording.
The program notes for this CD are extensive. For the listener who wishes to learn more about the life and faith of Douglas Yeo, the program notes will provide a great deal of insight. The CD promises a companion collection of the arrangements for performers who wish to use these beautiful vignettes in worship services or for their own enjoyment. Yeo correctly makes mention of the fact that excellent arrangements in this milieu are difficult to find. The companion collection will be an exceptional resource for performers, as the CD is for music lovers as well as bass trombone aficionados. Cornerstone is a tribute to Douglas Yeo's musicianship as well as his faith, family, and life. (Michael Brown)
18 November 2000
Newly released is this interesting CD of sacred music featuring the fine playing of Douglas Yeo, bass trombone with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with accompaniments from four pianists, Patricia Yeo, Stephen Gerber, Wes Ross and Beatrice Bush Bixler. Readings on the disc are eloquently provided by Bill Pearce.
It has to be said that this recording only explores one genre and is one man's portrayal of his faith through music. Having said that, for lovers of quality playing you won't get much better than this. It is obvious that Douglas Yeo plays everything from the heart and this fact shines out through this recording, with some wonderful dynamic control and a superb warm sound that is a lesson to all exponents of this instrument who sometimes think that the true bass trombone should be the most powerful element of any ensemble! Likewise any would-be pianists could also take heed from the more than sympathetic accompaniment throughout, which makes this particular side of piano playing an art-form in its own right.
There are some lovely melodies of faith included on the CD such as the title track, "Cornerstone," George Beverly Shea's "I'd Rather Have Jesus," "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" with the aforementioned Bill Pearce reading the words of the prohpet Isaiah, "His Eye Is On The Sparrow," "As The Deer/There is None Like You," and "Were You There?/O Sacred Head Now Wounded."
The quality of production is quite adequate and this album should appeal to lovers of sacred music played by a very fine and tremendously experienced exponent of the bass trombone. (John Maines)
Volume 17, No. 4 - December 2000
If you're looking for a flashy, dazzling recording of sacred instrumental music, this is not the one for you. If you're looking for some of the finest, most musical, most beautiful playing you can find anywhere, THIS IS THE ONE TO HEAR!
Here's a refreshingly straight-forward presentation of a wide variety of sacred and deeply personal music that is played with such command that it sounds much easier than it is to do. In this day of glitz and overly-embellished showy performing, Doug "sings" right from the heart with no avvectation, beautifully phrased from beginning to end. There is nothing done for the sake of show. Doug's perfect, unwavering, full-bodied tone, laser-guided intonation and superb articulation is complemented with appropriate readings of Scripture by Bill Pearce on some of the cuts. Some of Pearce's arrangements are included on the CD as well, played not as an imitation of Pearce but in Doug's own style. Doug is in the process of producing a companion solo book to be released at a later date. Wonderful, clean accompanying throughout the recording across performers. This CD leaves you wanting more! (Phil Norris)
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