146

Ari Brown: Venus

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Listening to Chicago–based saxophonist Ari Brown’s second Delmark release, I am reminded of the oft–quoted refrain about the little girl who, when she was good was very, very good, but when she was bad . . . well, you know the rest. To those who prefer their Jazz straight–up, as I do, I can wholly recommend about half of this session (more specifically, tracks 1, 4, 5 and 7) with the vibrant opener, dedicated to pianist Willie Pickens, receiving an unqualified endorsement. The rest is more, shall we say, idiosyncratic. Brown, who can play inside or out, emulates Rahsaan Roland Kirk by inserting multiple horns in mouth (with mixed results) on “Serengeti” and squanders almost four minutes on “Roscoe” (inscribed, we presume, to laud fellow AACM member Roscoe Mitchell). We can’t recommend either of these largely inharmonious exercises, nor can we approve unreservedly the sharp–edged “Trane’s Example” or frolicsome “Baldheaded Gerald,” even though each one is well–played by the group (and “Gerald” includes an admirable a cappella intro by bassist Ben Israel). “Oui Lee,” on the other hand, is an understated treasure with Brown calling to mind Joe Henderson but with a tone closer to Jimmy Heath with a dash of Rollins adding spice. Also resplendent are kid brother Kirk Brown’s melodic piano feature, “Quiet Time”; Ari’s passionate Latin–centered remembrance of his girlfiend, Venus Blue, who succumbed to cancer last year; and the tender ballad “Oh What a World We’re Living In.” A mixed bag, really, but one that surely won’t damage Brown’s well–earned reputation as one of Chicago’s most versatile and accomplished “unknown” musicians.

Track listing: Oui Lee; Trane’s Example; Roscoe; Venus; Quiet Time; Baldhead Gerald; Oh What a World We’re Living In; Rahsaan in the Serengeti (64:02).


Personnel:

Ari Brown, tenor, alto, soprano saxophones; Kirk Brown, piano; Josef Ben Israel, bass; Avreeayl Ra, drums; Art

Title: Venus | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Delmark Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Mandala" CD/LP/Track Review Mandala
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Another Place, Another Time" CD/LP/Track Review Another Place, Another Time
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Beginnings" CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "La Sombra" CD/LP/Track Review La Sombra
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Into a Myth" CD/LP/Track Review Into a Myth
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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