Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

222

Ted Brown: Preservation

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
As one of the last surviving original Tristanoites, Ted Brown’s reputation is surprisingly the least prominent of his peers. Though he shared the frontline with Warne Marsh on Jazz of Two Cities (1957), his discography since that seminal date has been a checkered affair with plenty of protracted holes, mostly due to a gig as an educator. Criss Cross stepped in during the '80s, issuing two dates under Brown’s name, and Steeplechase teamed him with his old chum Lee Konitz for a freewheeling pianoless conclave in the form of Dig It (1999). But this latest offering from the Danish imprint marks Brown’s first led recording of the new millennium. Sitting comfortably at the controls, he demonstrates from the start that his chops haven’t eroded a bit during his long hiatus in academia.



Brown’s laidback limpid tone might not align with listeners who prefer their tenors tough and fiery, but it shows that he still holds true to the Tristano credo of putting the content of a solo before its inflection. In the context of this program’s evenly balanced ratio of standards to originals, his sound works exceptionally well. Brown clearly delineates leader and sideman roles from the get go, but he never uses his dominant position as an excuse for showboating. The rhythm section, officiated by Steeplechase veteran Harold Danko, fits Brown’s specifications of harmonic flexibility and responsiveness almost seamlessly.



Brown, like his former colleague Marsh, evinces great enthusiasm when it comes to improvising on transposed chords. He spares no time in getting down to business, whispering an extemporaneous answer to “Three Little Words.” Space and timing play important roles in his phrasing placement as choruses float by in smooth succession and Hirshfield’s steady cymbal beat keeps the tune bouncing along. The shopworn “Yesterdays” receives a welcome melodic makeover and features some of Brown’s most nakedly romantic musings of the date. His translucent voicing of notes matches particularly well to these plush surroundings and the gradual tempo adds to the overarching afterhours ambience.



The title track, with pun imbedded to identify its dedicatee, builds off the base of Lester Young’s “Tickle Toe.” Brown adopts a convincing Lestorian guise for his foray through the melody. Danko settles into supply sensitive counterpoint in response the leader’s improvisations, before shaping his own fertile interpretation on the theme.

The quartet breezes beautifully through two more standards, “Willow Weep for Me” and the Gershwin showpiece “Somebody Loves Me,” before landing lightly on Brown’s quaint “Little Quail.” Based loosely on the chord progressions of “I’ll Remember April,” this retooled swinger carries the album out on airy, optimistic note. Brown sashays through the first several choruses sans Danko and it’s a pleasure to hear him explicate in the absence of strict chordal tethers. Occasions in the studio may be few and far between, but Brown is still at the top of his game.

Visit Steeplechase on the web.


Track Listing: Three Little Words/ Yesterdays/ The Man I Love/ Preservation/ Lover Man/ Broadway/ Willow Weep for Me/ Somebody Loves Me/ Little Quail.

Personnel: Ted Brown- tenor saxophone; Harold Danko- piano; Dennis Irwin- bass; Jeff Hirschfield- drums. Recorded: November 2002.

Title: Preservation | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Mu'U" CD/LP/Track Review Mu'U
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "Don't Blink" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Blink
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "A Night Walking Through Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Southern Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Southern Blood
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Milestones" CD/LP/Track Review Milestones
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 31, 2017