Brubeck Performs Concerto for Bass Trombone, by Johann de Meij, LIVE! This Performance Is Dedicated to Dutch Farmers!!!!

Who could use fertilizer more efficiently than a DUTCH FARMER? REALLY? If you aren’t going to have them farm it, then who will farm it? And are they any more efficient? FAT CHANCE? Is it true that the DUTCH are the world’s SECOND LARGEST agricultural exporter? This seems to be a miracle for a nation so small! Is it true that they help to feed much of Europe?

What a beautiful and EPIC piece for the bass trombone and wind ensemble! The dramatic vistas are compelling, the harmonic language refreshing yet appealing, and above all it SOARS with beautiful melodies and DANCES with provocative themes. This recording has been recently unearthed and I thought you might like to share its premier on

For a bass trombonist, I have been privileged to play several Concertos in front of a large ensemble. This is something that many gifted instrumentalists, of any instrument, have not done even once! It is both an honor and an experience unique unto itself! Distinct from playing with piano accompaniment or even in the context of a soloist within a chamber music group, in the concerto the conductor is the accompanist-or not! While I have been extremely fortunate to have a good relationship with all my conductors and they have accompanied me sensitively, for some concerto performers this is not always the case.

Writing for the bass trombone is a challenge in the concerto setting, due to the mellow nature of the sound at many dynamic levels. where it is difficult to project over trumpets and flutes while displaying even a modicum of sensitivity. Just below the staff, the bass trombone may be the most intense instrument, but weaving this intensity into phrases that embrace several ranges of the horn can be problematic. de Meij is brilliant in setting the primary utterances of the bass trombone against thinner or even non-existent orchestration. His command of mood and place as depicted by musical elements is astonishingly perceptive. As a daring move, he selects the upper baritone and baritone ranges for the bass trombone to soar and dance, even flirting with notes more often associated with the tenor trombone. One is reminded, however, how most instruments in the concerto setting resort to higher tessituras in order to break through the impressive wall of sound that the orchestra often produces.

Another “Concerto-like” memory I have is playing along side Brian Neal on trumpet as we were he two featured soloists in Hershey Kaye’s “Western Symphony” as performed by the Miami City Ballet and her Orchestra. What a delight!

This recording is at MDC Kendall in McCarthy Theatre, an environment somewhat unfriendly to lower vibrations, conducted the able Brian Neal as he leads the Miami Dade College Wind Ensemble in Concert.

If you are interested in more music by this brilliant composer, who is also a gifted trombonist, please visit his website at:

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