Joshua Bell, "At Home With Friends"

Album Review

The Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell returns with "At Home With Friends," a star-studded album of marquee-level duets with guest artists like Sting, Josh Groban and Chris Botti. If the term "classical crossover" sends you running for cover, fear not: This is one duets album that packs a sonic-and celebrity-punch. The new album finds Bell's virtuosic violin amid a wide array of musical genres-a jazz-inspired reading of George Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" (alongside trumpeter Botti), the bluegrass-drenched "Look Away" (featuring Nickel Creek's mandolin master Chris Thile) and even a foray into Argentine tango on Astor Piazzolla's "Oblivion." Other standout sparring partners include pianist Dave Grusin (on Tom Jobim's "Chovendo Na Roseira") and perennial favorite Sting on "Come Again," from his classical album "Songs From the Labyrinth." Much more than just a publicity vehicle, "At Home With Friends" is an inspired, moving musical affair.-Jon Regen