Alto saxophonist Rob Brown has the lean physique and worried forehead of a typical free jazz improviser, but through his associations with the leading forces of the downtown scene (including Matthew Shipp and, most fruitfully, William Parker) he has positioned himself as an in-demand sideman as well as a creative and ear-catching leader. He has been a mainstay in the groups put together by Parker and has arguably done his most intensely impressive work with the Quartet, as well as bringing a distinctive voice to the Little Huey Orchestra. Brown's art continues to move forward.
Nothing could be further from Little Huey than Brown's Sounds trio (with Daniel Levin on cello and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi). Brown's band mates are masters of small gestures, which make their virtuosic flourishes all the more dramatic. Recorded live at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut, Brown's tone is forceful and controlled even when his energy sends him on the attack. Takeishi rattles his bones and his drums can sound flat and arid, but they can also roll and tumble like a sack of oranges that has been spilled down a grassy hill. At the center of the triangle is Levin, plucking the strings on his cello, as stalwart as any double-bass; plinking the strings in out-of-time duet with Takeishi or sawing the strings in screeching support of Brown's alto.
Comprised of four Brown originals, the opening "Quick Be Nimble" establishes the trio's interaction and individual dexterity, while the longer and discursive "Walkabout" demonstrates the band's rhythmic abilities. "On a Lark" is their most outside piece, moving from quiet introspection to effusive expressiveness, and "Stray(horn)" refers to Billy's famous Duke Ellingtonian ballads while making a convincing case for a treatment of Brown's compositions on a larger scale.
Quick Be Nimble; Walkabout; On a Lark; Stray(horn).
Rob Brown: alto saxophone; Daniel Levin: cello; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.