Earth Games 2012

Nicola Ferro

With this performance, Italian composer/trombonist Nicola Ferro has delivered compositions of brilliance in a recording of beauty, intelligence and significance.
Using a four-suite format with each suite consisting of shorter individual selections all Cosmologically-titled (“Supernovae,” “Planet,” “Galaxy,” “Light Year,” et al.) and performed by stellar musicians, Ferro deftly melds jazz, classical and popular genres – without diluting any and enhancing all.

Modifying the traditional instrumentation of a brass quartet, Ferro has structured his composed orchestrations leveraging the astonishing trumpet artistry of Andrea Tofanelli - a worthy heir to the altissimo trumpet throne vacated by the late Maynard Ferguson – the New York Philharmonic’s Principal trombonist, the legendary Joseph Alessi, Ferro himself, the wonderfully-talented bass trombonist, Justin Clark, Spain’s tuba star, Alexandre Cerda´ Bella plus bass, percussion and effects. This is classic world music performed magnificently by world-class players.

Ferro’s works here are highly rhythmic-oriented, cliché-free, and thought-provokingly beautiful. They are, in a sense, programmatic, but, not so much as, say, Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.” His pen tests his players and the result is impeccable and astonishing music, especially given the complexities, intricacies and nuances of the texturally demanding writing. While there are almost two dozen total individual segments within the four suites, each segment within and across the suites is completely unique. There are no recurring leitmotifs, simply 22 gems that seem to suggest a mind’s eye view of Ferro and crew raising their arms, instruments and music up to embrace the magnificence of the Universe.

Earth Games 2012 is an involving, awe-inspiring constellation. Perhaps its only drawback is the fact that some of the marvelous shorter segments are so intriguing, one thirsts for longer observations of the same.

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Nick Mondello