Classical and jazz worlds blend together and produce a sound that can only be defined as pure music on classical music piano superstars The 5 Browns' Browns in Blue. The Juilliard-trained Brown siblingsDesirae, Deondra, Gregory, Melody and Ryanall began studying piano at an early age. As their musical proficiency developed, these young Mormons each debuted with major symphonic orchestras, going on to popular media coverage. Their professional careers began taking off, highlighted by the release of two critically acclaimed classical recordings and sold-out performances in college auditoriums and concert halls, largely to audiences of their peers.
Browns in Blue is the quintet's third recording for Sony Classical. The 5 Browns appear in differing settings throughout the CDfrom individual performances to duos, trios and, ultimately, the full quintet. While heavy on classical works by composers including Brahms, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Schubert, Blue also features the works of Gershwin and W.C. Handy. What is most impressive about Blue is that it offers an insight into how these young phenoms hear music. Their sound yields more than technique, a quality that makes this recording highly enjoyable.
On W.C. Handy's "Aunt Hagar's Blues, Gregory Brown plays solo with thoughtfulness and warmth, as though he wants to rid Aunt Hagar of her blues by comforting her with his music. Gershwin's "Embraceable You sounds delicate and sweet at the hands of Desirae Brownlike what every woman has at some point imagined an embrace would feel like coming from someone they loved or wanted to love. "Home Blues from An American in Paris, featuring a guest performance by trumpeter Chris Botti along with the play of the full piano quintet, is fun and energetic. Botti fits in nicely with the family, and the sounds constantly dance from piano to trumpet to piano (and piano and piano and piano again). The bonus track, "Everybody Loves Somebody, includes the vocals of rat pack favorite Dean Martin. The quintet manages to make Martin come alive, potentially sparking a rumor that either Dean Martin still lives among us or that these five have lived before.
Browns in Blue is fine work. These are young twenty-somethings who are deserving of a headline.
Track Listing: 18th Variation from Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; Carnival of the Animals-Aquarium; Retrato de Alfredo Gobbi from History of the Tango; Clair de Lune from Suite Bergamasque; Aunt Hagar
Personnel: The 5 Browns: Desirae Brown: piano (1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16); Deondra Brown: piano (1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16); Gregory Brown: piano (1, 5, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16); Melody Brown: piano (1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16); Ryan Brown: piano (1, 3, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16). Guests: Chris Botti: trumpet (15); Dean Martin: vocals (16); Gil Shaham: violin (2).
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.