Wednesday, March 12, 2014

John Brown, Quiet Time

The modern equivalent of a ballads album need not pull out every American Songbook Standard tune in the slow and quiet mode to succeed. In fact that may not always be the way to go. Bassist-bandleader John Brown for his third album does something else. Quiet Time (Brown Boulevard Records) does have a good version of "You Don't Know What Love Is". But then it has some fairly recent pop and soul tunes and compositions by jazz artists as widely spread out as Elvin Jones (John worked with him), Lonnie Smith, Oscar Peterson, and Gerald Wilson. The title cut is by John Brown himself.

What this is all about is a sterling quintet in a laid-back but very alert mode. John is on the upright and forms the unshakable backbone of everything. Brian Miller is on mostly alto and tenor, and he has soul and Bird-and-beyond facility that's very nice to hear. Ray Codrington plays a burnished, finely aged trumpet and flugel--and he doesn't sound like Miles, which is hard to do in this setting. Gabe Evans on piano sounds fine and Adonis Rose on drums keeps it sensitive and pretty light to befit the occasion.

Miller's sax work is a pleasure to hear--but everybody is in the modern mood and groove. There's nothing facile about this quiet music. It has all the good down-home grits when needed and it gets spooky quiet almost in a film noir kind of way.

It's very, very good and perfect for when you want something quiet but not empty!

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