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Marion Brown

Marion Brown made his name as an alto saxophonist aftermastering clarinet and oboe, and established himself in theforefront of the free jazz movement.

Born in Atlanta, on Sept. 8, 1931, he moved to Harlem as ateenager. In the 50s he studied music at Clark College,Atlanta and law at Howard University, Washington, DC. Hespent 18 months playing the clarinet in an army band on theJapanese island of Hokkaido. In 1962 he moved back toNewYork to play jazz full time, and was mentored by OrnetteColeman. His first musical exposure came with ArchieShepp,and he quickly gained a reputation after playing on JohnColtrane's historic “Ascension.”

Brown recorded “Marion Brown Quartet” (’65) and “WhyNot?”(’66) for the ESP label, but it was his significant “ThreeForShepp” with Grachan Moncur III and Kenny Burrell on theImpulse label in 1966 that solidified his status as a majorinnovator. His 1970 release of “Afternoon of a GeorgiaFaun,”has also become a standout in his career.

Brown toured Europe with vibes player Gunter Hampel in theearly 70s, made a series of extremely individual recordswithavant gardists such as Hampel, Leo Smith, Muhal RichardAbrams and Steve McCall, and led his own groups into thenew millennium, although health problems have limited hisscope.

He has continued to investigate African Americanethnomusicology both musically and academically, andrecordings have included the solo “Recollections: BalladsAndBlues For Alto Saxophone,” and duos with pianist MalWaldron. He has written a book of essays on his life andmusic, also titled Recollections, which was published inGermany in 1985. Brown's dry, breathy alto sound and thetenacious logic of his improvisations mark him as a uniqueplayer.


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8
Album Review

Archie Shepp: Fire Music To Mama Too Tight Revisited

Read "Fire Music To Mama Too Tight Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


In 2022, it is widely accepted that, when free jazz (aka the New Thing) was in its ascent in New York in the 1960s, there was, despite superficial appearances, no fundamental incompatibility between it and the historical jazz tradition. More contentiously, revisionist historians are now suggesting that there was no real conflict between New Thing and changes-based or modal-based musicians either. They should try telling that to Archie Shepp. In autumn 1966, during the Miles Davis quintet's ...

13
Album Review

Marion Brown: Why Not? Porto Novo! Revisited

Read "Why Not? Porto Novo! Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


Alto saxophonist Marion Brown was part of the band on John Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse, 1965), though you would not guess it from Why Not (ESP, 1968). Like fellow Ascension alumnus, tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders' contemporaneous Tauhid (Impulse, 1967), Brown's album inhabited an intensely melodic section of the 1960s' New Thing. As were Sanders' own-name releases from 1967 onwards, Brown's work was deeply lyrical and embraced South Asian, Maghrebi and West African instruments and constructs. As bandleaders, the two ...

8
Album Review

Marion Brown: Capricorn Moon To Juba Lee Revisited

Read "Capricorn Moon To Juba Lee Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


The release of this album is an event momentous enough to warrant repeating the preamble to the previously published review of Albert Ayler's Quartets 1964: Spirits To Ghosts Revisited.... Before considering the music on this disc, something else has to be celebrated--the resurrection of Werner X. Uehlinger's Hat Hut label (see past profiles). Founded in 1975, the Swiss-based company's hatOLOGY series championed European and American outer-limits jazz, producing a large catalogue of newly recorded and legacy material. Sadly, ...

66
The Moment's Energy

Marion Brown: The Freshness after the Rain

Read "Marion Brown: The Freshness after the Rain" reviewed by Nic Jones


[Editor's Note: For the inaugural installment of his new column, in which he monkeys around on the margins of jazz and improvised music, Nic Jones takes a look at the often overlooked and undervalued multi-instrumentalist, Marion Brown.]Reed player and percussionist Marion Brown's music is a singular thing. Through his associations in the 1960s--not the least of these being as a sideman on John Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse!, 1965)--he might, in many peoples' minds, be associated with the New Thing ...

168
Album Review

Marion Brown: Why Not?

Read "Why Not?" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza


Alto saxophonist Marion Brown came off playing with John Coltrane on Ascension (Impulse!, 1965) when he recorded two albums for ESP Disk. On the first, his eponymous 1966 release, the music was fiery and free-wheeling, underscoring Brown's presence as a potent improviser.

His second, Why Not?, saw him take a more altruistic approach. He moved away from the semantics of the first album, where he used two bassists--Ronnie Boykins and Reggie Johnson--to a conventional quartet with bassist Norris “Sirone" Jones, ...

263
Album Review

Marion Brown: Why Not?

Read "Why Not?" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose


Marion Brown is often referred to as America's greatest unknown musician and this he very well is. His output has been small, but his wonderful alto horn can be heard on some of the finest records made--notably on Archie Shepp's Fire Music (Impulse, 1965) and with John Coltrane on Ascension (Impulse, 1965). And then there have been his own fine recordings for ESP Disk, including Why Not? which is being re-released on the forward-thinking label for the first time since ...

763
Extended Analysis

Marion Brown: Why Not?

Read "Marion Brown: Why Not?" reviewed by Clifford Allen


Marion Brown Why Not? ESP-Disk 2009 (1966)

While the term “fire music" has held sway as a descriptor of the music of post-John Coltrane/Albert Ayler saxophonists from the 1960s onward, it's long been an incomplete summation of the work of most of these musicians. Alto saxophonist Marion Brown appeared on Coltrane's Ascension and tenor man Archie Shepp's Fire Music (both Impulse, 1965) and his playing was early on championed by poet/critic LeRoi ...

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177

Festival

Vision Festival 16 Opening Night; Echoes of Ascension, Marion Brown and John Tchicai.

Vision Festival 16 Opening Night; Echoes of Ascension, Marion Brown and John Tchicai.

Source: Chris Rich

Having covered the Panel Discussion for Sunday the music needs its due. Where else but the Vision Festival, in the US at least, would you find a night given to two participants in that legendary extended fanfare the world knows as Ascension. One still works among us, John Tchicai, and the other left us since Vision Festival last conveved. Marion Brown was a wonder. He was among the early inventors of mixed medium work incorporating poetry, visual arts and the ...

84

Obituary

Marion Brown Remembered

Marion Brown Remembered

Source: Music and More by Tim Niland

There have been some very classy tributes to the late influential saxophonist Marion Brown on the jazz blogosphere lately. Peter Hum posted excerpts of a short interview with Brown and a Youtube clip, while NPR has a couple of excellent postings, first from Lars Gotrich and then a deeply emotional and affecting post from John Rogers. Destination Out is first class all the way with a wonderful tribute post to Brown including mp3 downloads of rare performances. Finally, Dark Forces ...

139

Obituary

Marion Brown, Jazz Saxophonist, Dies at 79

Marion Brown, Jazz Saxophonist, Dies at 79

Source: AAJ Staff

Marion Brown, a saxophonist whose lyrical, low-key style made him a distinctive presence in the high-energy jazz avant-garde of the 1960s and '70s, died Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 79. His death, in a hospice, was confirmed by his son, Djinji. Mr. Brown had been treated for a variety of illnesses in recent years and had been living in an assisted-living home in Hollywood, Fla. Mr. Brown, whose main instrument was alto saxophone, was a key figure in ...

174

Obituary

Marion Brown

Marion Brown

Source: Rifftides by Doug Ramsey

Alto saxophonist Marion Brown, who came to prominence in the 1960s and '70s, died yesterday at age 79. He had been in an assisted living home in Hollywood, Florida, since 2005. Although some references list his birth year as 1935, he was born on September 8, 1931, in Atlanta, Georgia. Brown's career got a boost when John Coltrane chose him to be on Ascension. That 1965 album, in effect, was Coltrane's announcement that he was fully embracing free jazz. Brown ...

264

Obituary

Marion Brown (September 8, 1931-October 10, 2010) - Pieces of a Conversation

Marion Brown (September 8, 1931-October 10, 2010) - Pieces of a Conversation

Source: Ni Kantu by Clifford Allen

Today I (and many in the jazz community) learned the news that alto saxophonist and improvising composer Marion Brown died a little over a week ago. He had been dealing with health issues for over a decade, and was in an assisted living situation in Hollywood, Florida. He was an early favorite of mine—a sweet ebullience and jovial, lyrical compositional style within freer forms separated his work from the pregnant emotional weight of Messrs. Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, and Cecil ...

319

Recording

His Name is Alive Record the Music of Marion Brown

His Name is Alive Record the Music of Marion Brown

Source: All About Jazz

Originally conceived only as a single concert at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in 2004, His Name is Alive began recording Sweet Earth Flower shortly after that very successful evening. Although the connection between His Name is Alive and Marion Brown may not be obvious to some of the younger students, this is album is truly a very special release in either artist's varied catalog.

His Name is Alive is probably best known for having been one of ...

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