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Ian Michael Brown: The Beauty of Not Knowing

Geno Thackara By

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Ian Michael Brown: The Beauty of Not Knowing
Ian Michael Brown seems like a fellow who enjoys a little mystery—not the kind that is dark or forbidding, but the kind that makes travel and exploration so much fun. That feel is only further reinforced by a lush jazz-fusion sound which takes a few tonal cues from Brad Mehldau and the Pat Metheny Group. He and a few sharp cohorts bounce off one another in brightly stimulating ways through this upbeat recording, evoking wide-open landscapes almost as much as intimate daydreams.

While Dave Brown's guitar tone ably provides some subtle airiness, Cristhian Cavanzo balances it out with a subtle but insistent propulsiveness at the drums. It meshes most pleasantly with Brown's hooks and piano leads, balancing the easy-to-follow structures with plenty of improvisational space. Though everyone gets a chance to shine (an unexpected bass turn during "Prayer to the Morning Light" making one particularly nice little moment), it's an egalitarian affair most of all. Brown often seems like passenger as much as pilot—perfect for pieces focused around the themes rather than the players.

The picturesque motifs generally float over groovy jams, though Brown isn't opposed to more pastoral ideas when moments like "Moss and Mudd" roll around. The tones are electric though not particularly heavy; the band can cook at a brisk clip in spots and unhurriedly enjoy the scenery in others. It is a little jarring when they dive into Herbie Hancock wah-wah funk at the very end, fuzzy organ and all. Even then, the brightness and dash of humor are right in keeping with the remainder of The Beauty of Not Knowing. There's no need to actually figure everything out when there's such fresh appeal in appreciating the mystery.

Track Listing

Don't Look Down; The Beauty of Not Knowing; Point of Contact; Moss and Mudd; Prayer to the Morning Light; The Art of Rising and Falling; Thoughts from the Heart; Going Home; A Rose at Dawn; Off Kilter.

Personnel

Ian Michael Brown: piano & keyboards; Sebastian Forero Barrera: bass; Cristhian Cavanzo: drums; Dave Brown: guitar; Eric DeFade: tenor saxophone.

Album information

Title: The Beauty of Not Knowing | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Indie Recordings

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