Joshua Bell
At Home With Friends

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Produced by: Stephen Epstein
Format: CD



Matt Rowe


The violinist known as Joshua Bell begins his latest album, At Home With Friends, with an extraordinary violin/trumpet tandem with Chris Botti.  It rises with Bell's heart-wrapping violin and is joined by the elegiac trumpet of Botti to create a beautiful song ("I Love You Porgy") that you'll want to track over and again, likely before moving to the second song on this gorgeous collection of 16 tracks.

Each song is one that is joined by a guest master, some of them surprising.  On Morricone's perfect, "Cinema Paradiso," Bell is on stage with Josh Grobin and his piano.  Bell's heart-rending violin on this tune leaves me with a desire to hear Bell's complete interpretation of the entire Cinema Paradiso collection.

Bell pushes his talent by approaching several styles if music including Latin ("Para Tí" with Tiempo Libre), Pop ("Eleanor Rigby" with Frankie Moreno) and ("My Funny Valentine," sung by Kristen Chenoweth), and beautiful soundtrack material ("Il Postino" with Carel Kraayenhof).  There's even a song that features Regina Spektor on piano and vocals ("Left Hand Song").  Bell proves himself with an amazing duet with sitarist, Anoushka Shankar on one of the best tracks of the album, "Variant Moods: Duet for Sitar & Violin," a 9-minute work of the Ravi Shankar tune.

Where Joshua Bell plays, there is a kind of unseen magic in the air.  But it can be felt.  Every track on this eclectic album is, without question, a reproduction of that magic in each of its songs.  While it approaches various types of music with an eye to infusing violin, Bell is easily up to the joyous task of creating a collection that will put a smile on your face.

At Home With Friends expands by one as each listener sits in with this varied set of intimate tunes, becoming party with the immeasureably talented Bell and each guest that performs with him.









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212 Frech

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