You get two for the price of one with this review, with two closely related sample libraries from Ueberschall: Flugelhorn and Trumpet 2. Unlike the majority of the Elastik–based titles from Ueberschall, these two releases don’t follow the song–based construction-kit format but, instead, are part of their Instrument Series. What you get in each library, therefore, are a series of solo instrument phrases/licks that you can piece together to form a complete performance.
You are not left completely without guidance, however, as within each library, the various phrases are organised into some sensibly structured folders based upon tempo and, in the case of the slightly larger Trumpet 2 library, also on the basis of the different mutes — bucket, cup, plunger, wah-wah, etc — used with the trumpet.
Flugelhorn provides just under 1GB of samples spread across 700 loops/phrases, while Trumpet 2 runs to 1.4GB and over 1100 individual samples. In terms of musical style, think anything from classic 1930s jazz at tempos that go from a sensual 65bpm up to a more frenetic (and perhaps a little more modern?) 150bpm, although Elastik really does make it possible to stretch/compress the material over some considerable tempos ranges.
Whatever tempo you explore, the playing is fabulous. Both instruments are played by Gary Winters and, yes, he really can play rather well. The sound is wonderful both in terms of the actual tone captured and the recording quality.
The Flugelhorn is somewhat darker and mellower than the Trumpet; close your eyes, listen to the sound and you could be in some smoke–filled, New Orleans jazz club. There is perhaps a touch more variety within Trumpet 2; you still get that ’30s vibe in places but you can also come right up to the modern day.
In use, both libraries actually make it pretty easy to chain a few of the phrases from a particular sub–folder together to construct a complete solo performance. Indeed, the samples are good enough to stand on their own as a solo performance, but add in a suitable drum and upright bass backing (just make sure they don’t get in the way) and something rather wonderful is almost inevitable.
Both of these libraries might cover something of a specialist musical genre but, within that genre, they really nail the sound and performance. I could imagine busy media composers finding Flugelhorn and Trumpet 2 to be excellent resources when a little bit of atmospheric — and utterly convincing — solo brass is needed in an instant. Classy playing, classy sound; listen out for them in a movie soundtrack near you.
Flugelhorn €49, Trumpet 2 €99.