Kansas City-reared jazz singer Deborah Brown employs an international, multicultural little big band to make progressive American vocal jazz, managing the logistics brilliantly to produce one of the best vocal recitals of the year. This fearless repertoire maven is not afraid of even the stickiest subjects.
On International Incident,, Brown takes on two Johnny Griffin compositions ("Take My Hand" and "Make Up You Mind"), Thad Jones' "A Child is Born," and Pat Metheny's "Always and Forever." These are certainly not your typical standards, but Brown and her crack band make their performance sound easy and very enjoyable.
All the songs on the disc were originally instrumentals that later had lyrics applied. Some are delivered in a typical vocalese fashion ("Make Up Your Mind"), navigating Griffin's craggy lines, while others sound down right novel, as in the lengthy "Western Ballad."
"Western Ballad" is centered on the rhythm section with horn filigree. It is a beautiful treatment. Brown's able band never gets in the way but does exist on an equal footing with the singer. All solos are well constructed and intelligent, no sloppiness here. This group of professionals came to do what they know bestplay.
Track Listing: Take My Hand; Lonely Woman; Silver Blues; Make Up Your Mind; Western Ballad; Danse Du Petite Geant; For The Time Being; A Child Is Born; Atonal; What Comes Up; Always And Forever; For The Time Being.
Personnel: Deborah Brown: vocals, piano; Zbigniew Namyslowski: alto and sopranino saxophone; Nicolai Panov: tenor and soprano saxophone; Mikael Raberg: trombone; Bert Joris: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ernst Reijseger: cello; Herve Sellin: piano; Hein Van De Geijn: bass; Keith Copeland: drums; Chris Joris: percussion..
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.