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Rob Brown: Unknown Skies

Read "Unknown Skies" reviewed by John Sharpe

Each year alto saxophonist Rob Brown brings a project to NYC's annual Vision Festival. Among the most raw and compelling was this stellar trio, featuring pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Nasheet Waits, which graced the 2009 gathering but had gone unrecorded, until now. Fortunately the voguish Paris-based Rogue Art imprint has issued a fine live recording from the 2010 Sons d'hiver festival in that city, which regularly presents highlights from the New York jamboree. His chosen format echoes ...

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Rob Brown Trio: Live at Firehouse 12

Read "Live at Firehouse 12" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

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 ...

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Right Hemisphere: Right Hemisphere

Read "Right Hemisphere" reviewed by Florence Wetzel

In the early '80s, saxophonist Rob Brown and pianist Matthew Shipp played as a duo, eventually forming a quartet with William Parker on bass and Whit Dickey on drums and releasing the CD Points on Silkheart in 1990. Flash-forward to the present, where Joe Morris has taken over the bass chair, and the group has released this altogether excellent, eponymous follow-up. The eleven songs explore a wide range of moods, including the meditative “Red in Gray," urgently ...

INTERVIEWS

Rob Brown: No More "Mr. Avant Garde"

Read "Rob Brown: No More "Mr. Avant Garde"" reviewed by John Sharpe

Alto saxophonist Rob Brown would feature highly on most people's lists of modern purveyors of reed magic. Leading New York avant-garde bassist William Parker has featured Brown for the last fifteen years, and Brown has been associated, both as sideman and leader, with other well-known modern jazz musicians including Matthew Shipp, Joe Morris and Whit Dickey.

A recent example is the group Right Hemisphere. He has also recorded and worked alongside such luminaries as Cecil Taylor, ...

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Rob Brown: Crown Trunk Root Funk

Read "Crown Trunk Root Funk" reviewed by John Sharpe

One-off assemblages can be hit or miss affairs, but so powerful was saxophonist Rob Brown's ensemble at the 2006 Vision Festival that it was deemed essential that they were brought into the studio. With his carefully controlled use of harmonics and split tones, allied to a quicksilver inventiveness, Brown is one of the most instantly recognizable voices in free jazz today. In pianist Craig Taborn Brown has found a like-minded spirit averse to the obvious route. Taborn's ...

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Rob Brown: Crown Trunk Root Funk

Read "Crown Trunk Root Funk" reviewed by Lyn Horton

The function of liner notes is to bring the listener closer to the music. They need not be very broad in scope. Some of the most straightforward liner notes are often the most useful. For they do not impose layers of unnecessary skin to peel away in order to reach their point. After all, the music is the point. Rob Brown wrote the liner notes for his quartet's recording Crown Trunk Root Funk. In their humility and simplicity lies a ...

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Rob Brown Ensemble: Crown Trunk Root Funk

Read "Crown Trunk Root Funk" reviewed by Troy Collins

After its successful premier at the 2006 Vision Festival, alto saxophonist Rob Brown took his newest ensemble into the studio to record Crown Trunk Root Funk, his first recording as a leader for AUM Fidelity. A formidable blend of funky abstraction, angular post-bop and dark impressionism, it offers an expansive view of Brown's adventurous aesthetic.

A two decade plus veteran of New York City's Downtown scene, Brown employs three of today's most in-demand sidemen in this quartet. Bandleader, ...

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Rob Brown Trio: Sounds

Read "Sounds" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The title, Sounds, might oversimplify the concept for Rob Brown's latest trio. Or maybe it allows for the multiple possibilities.

You see it is not just jazz sounds that are made here, nor is it only modern or avant-garde music. Brown is stretching the elastic of music-making, just like Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler once did.

The only difference is that in the 21st century, to quote the band Jane's Addiction, “nothing's shocking anymore.

The saxophonist first gained ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Rob Brown Trio: Sounds

Read "Sounds" reviewed by Troy Collins

Alto saxophonist Rob Brown has been a fixture on New York's avant-garde scene for over two decades. Working closely with Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe Morris and Whit Dickey, Brown has appeared on over fifty albums, and more than a dozen as a leader or co-leader.

Typically working in a piano-less quartet format on his own projects, Brown sought a more exotic combination of instruments to help expand his sound palette on Sounds. Eschewing the traditional rhythmic fulcrum ...

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Rob Brown Trio: Sounds

Read "Sounds" reviewed by Sean Patrick Fitzell

Sounds is as much a mission statement as a name for the debut CD by the Rob Brown Trio. Matching his alto saxophone with Daniel Levin's cello and Satoshi Takeishi's Japanese Taiko percussion, Brown frees himself from the expectations of the standard sax-plus-rhythm trio. The textural range of the instrumentation, particularly the exotic percussion and the music's spaciousness of form allows for non-idiomatic exploration that is not strictly free improvisation. Eschewing the fire-breathing energy that often typifies sax-led trios, Brown's ...

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Rob Brown Quartet: The Big Picture

Read "The Big Picture" reviewed by Rex  Butters

Rob Brown's Big Picture Quartet includes William Parker, Hamid Drake, and Roy Campbell, the band responsible for the sublime Raining on the Moon with Lena Conquest, recorded as the William Parker Quartet, as well as playing together in different configurations yielding some of the most vital and essential recordings of the last decade. In the grand jazz band tradition (think Sonny Greer and his Memphis Men), the music's flavor and quality maintains whoever's name shuffles forward. These four veteran collaborators ...

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Rob Brown Trio: Round the Bend

Read "Round the Bend" reviewed by John Kelman

A mainstay of the New York improvising scene that includes Matthew Shipp, Joe Morris, and William Parker (who appears on this date), alto saxophonist Rob Brown continues to cement his reputation as a player of note, evidenced on Round the Bend, a varied programme of free jazz .

Brown’s fiery playing comes from the Anthony Braxton school, but the innate sense of swing that sometimes appears and then disintegrates before reappearing, comes more from the Ornette Coleman camp, specifically some ...


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