299

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra: The Music of Donald Brown

By

Sign in to view read count
The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra: The Music of Donald Brown Established in August of 1999, the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra is made up of professional musicians from the Mid South region. Led by trumpeter Vance Thompson, the group's maiden album is a series of live performances made in 2000. All but two of the compositions on this set are by Donald Brown, "Shade Street" and "Dearest Emily" come from the pen of Thompson. Brown was raised in Memphis and attended the university there. While in school he made a name for himself as part of the Memphis Three, a trio of exceptionally talented pianists who went on to greater glory. This included himself, Mulgrew Miller and James Williams. He also did some charts for the University of Tennessee's Jazz Band. He went on to a successful performing and composing career having worked with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and having his music recorded by such luminaries as Wynton Marsalis. Brown's Tennessee roots may be the reason his works were selected for the Orchestra's introductory CD.

The significant performing and composing credentials notwithstanding, Mr. Brown's music is neither sufficiently sturdy nor diverse to sustain an entire album. This means that the Knoxville Orch. is put at a disadvantage. Having to perform just one style of music by the same composer limits their opportunity to show their full potential. Certainly, there are some good cuts here which allow members to stretch out. "Strangers in Paradise" (not the tune from Kismet) is a pleasant low key piece of music with some special guitar playing by Mark Boling and restrained piano by Bill Swann. There‘s excellent drumming underpinning good ensemble work on "Episode from a Village Dance". But after a few tracks, a feeling of ennui creeps in because there's too little variation in the music. This is a good group of musicians and hopefully the play list from the next album will allow them to show off their performing capabilities.


Track Listing: Used to Think She Was Quiet; Strangers in Paradise; Waltz for Monk; Back Down in Lu Easy Anna; The Thing about Harold Mabern; Shade Street; Dearest Emily; Episode from a Village Dance

Personnel: Vance Thompson - Director/Trumpet; Mark Tucker - Alto & Soprano Sax/Flute; David King - Alto Sax/Flute; Bill Scarlett - Tenor & Soprano Sax/Clarinet; Jimmy Mann - Tenor Sax/Clarinet; Tom Johnson - Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet; Michael Wyatt, Stewart Cox, Thomas Heflin, Tom Fox, Michael Spirko - Trumpet; Don Hough, Tom Lundberg, Darrell Wyatt, Brad McDougall - Trombone; Mark Bolling - Guitar; Bill Swann - Piano; Rusty Holloway - Bass; Keith Brown - Drums

Title: The Music of Donald Brown | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: KJO


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Black Diamond" CD/LP/Track Review Black Diamond
by Joe Gatto
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Endemic Ensemble: Tangled" CD/LP/Track Review Endemic Ensemble: Tangled
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Life" CD/LP/Track Review Life
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 10, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.