Embrace is the 6th studio album by dutch legend Armin van Buuren. Having had each track on repeat at least a dozen times, my verdict is 'solid crossover album, suprisingly trancy'. As a trance addict, I generally love Armin's productions, but I have not been too keen on his venturing into more progressive territory in recent years. His love for trance surfaces unmistakenly on Embrace however (hurray), like on the catchy 'Make it Right' featuring Angel Taylor's raw vocals and not the least on 'Face of Summer' featuring Sarah Decourcy. But forget about trance. For me the star is a guy called Eric Vloeimans.
The highlight of this album is right at the start. And it's a trumpet. Or rather, the sound of a trumpet, rising so beautifully and divinely from the (obligatory) piano intro that it spellbinds instantaneously. Armin announced that this album is about embracing other sounds, hence the title. Nowhere else this intent is executed more strikingly than on the title track 'Embrace'.
For this track Armin allied himself with Dutch jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans, an internationally acknowledged musician in his own right. He is a true master when it comes to playing the trumpet. He initially studied classical music, but has made the switch to jazz. He's a great improvisational talent and I invite you to listen to some of his work on Youtube. I know I may be talking to the wrong audience here, but it's in the spirit of Armin's album to embrace other sounds right?
There is something else I want to share. If you are interested in Eric Vloeimans and want to play some of his music, I can recommend 'Horn of Plenty'. This book contains sheet music for 11 original compositions (it also includes audio CD's with accompanying parts), one of them named 'Armin' (van Buuren?). You can order it here.
A big thanks to singer-songwriter Marjolein van der Heide for sharing the (title) picture of Eric Vloeimans' book, 'embraced' by her trumpets. As can be deduced from the photograph, she plays the trumpet too and happens to be a big fan of Eric.