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The Britton Brothers: Uncertain Living

Woodrow Wilkins By

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They're not the Brecker Brothers, and don't try to be. However, the comparison is inevitable as brothers John and Ben Britton lead a band playing the trumpet and tenor sax, respectively.

The Brittons both started playing piano as children and learned to love jazz as teenagers. Combined, they've performed a variety of prestigious venues, including Lincoln Center and Telluride Jazz Festival, and have shared the stage with such artists as Frank Mantooth and Peter Erskine. For their debut release, the Brittons are joined by pianist Jeremy Siskind, bassist Taylor Waugh and drummer Austin Walker. Saxophonist Chris Potter appears on one track.

"Extra Fuzz" is a segmented piece. It begins with the full band in a funky groove—the brothers' horns blending on the melody. The pace downshifts for a placid piano solo and revs up gradually during the tenor solo, softens again for a muted trumpet and re-engages for the trumpet, sans mute. Walker, who gets plenty of free time during the other solos, steps out on the drum kit. It all comes together as several movements woven together.

"Anticipation" is aptly named. The opening sequence builds on emotion—a prelude of what's to come. Siskind scores early with a solo. After a repeat of the melody, the tenor takes point, followed by trumpet. The brothers trade leads on the melody, complementing each other during the sequence.

"Molo" is a swinging piece that has a "Take the 'A' Train" feel. After the opening, Waugh solos over subtle piano and drums. One can almost hear Duke Ellington during Siskind's solo. The horns display a big-band style during the closing sequence.

John and Ben Britton show some impressive chops, whether harmonizing on a lead or soloing. If Uncertain Living is an indication, The Britton Brothers are likely to leave an indelible mark on the music scene.

Track Listing: Extra Fuzz; Anticipation; June Humidity; Molo; Uncertain Living; Come Thou Fount; Mr John McNeil; Ducks in a Row.

Personnel: John Britton: trumpet; Ben Britton: tenor sax; Jeremy Siskind: piano; Taylor Waugh: bass; Austin Walker: drums; Chris Potter: tenor sax (2, 8).

Title: Uncertain Living | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced


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