The John Brown Quintet Shakes Up Hard Bop for a New Generation With Terms of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
(Published: December 03, 2007)
New York, NY – November 6, 2007 – True to the groove rhythms of hard bop made famous by drummer and bandleader Art Blakey, the John Brown Quintet is releasing its debut CD, Terms of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, on November 6, 2007. The disc promises to delight jazz fans and to spur a renewed appreciation for the legend it honors.
“Art Blakey’s music is home,” Brown says from his office at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he is director of Duke’s Jazz Program. “It’s a comfortable, accessible place. Art Blakey not only kept the music vital, he in effect altered the art form. Without Art Blakey and his circle of influence, hard-bop jazz would have little of the vigor and relevance it has today.”
Blakey’s legacy as a consummate bandleader, always bringing new musicians into the fold, urging them to make their personal contribution to the sound, served as the primary inspiration to Brown in making Terms of Art, his homage to Blakey. Brown values that tradition dearly, having experienced the method in action while playing with Wynton Marsalis, Cedar Walton, Elvin Jones, David “Fathead” Newman and many others. Brown does his part to keep the Blakey tradition alive with his quintet, saying, “The young musicians Blakey brought in—Wayne Shorter, Bradford and Wynton Marsalis come to mind—took the hard-bop sound out into their worlds. With Blakey as their mentor, they became bandleaders themselves, and the tradition evolved. Jazz itself was nurtured.”
Terms of Art features toe-tapping Blakey classics such as “Moanin’,” “A Night in Tunisia,” “The Preacher” and “Caravan,” as well as other, lesser known Blakey tunes, including “Buttercorn Lady,” the ballad “Hello” and Ray Brown’s “Buhaina, Buhaina.” John spent an entire summer listening to every recording of the Jazz Messengers, pinpointing the instrumentation and selecting music for his tribute that would appeal to jazz aficionados as well as a new, younger generation of jazz fans.
“We kept close to Blakey’s arrangements and aligned to his hard-bop roots,” Brown says, “but the improvisations are truly our own, telling our own story through his work.”
Although Blakey didn’t write these songs, his style of putting musicians together and eliciting the necessary rhythms attracted Brown, whose easygoing manner makes him a natural bandleader. His personal mantra is “Just be cool.” Brown says, “It’s magic when musicians connect.”
Brown likes the mix of well-known and more obscure Blakey tunes on Terms of Art. “Hard bop sounds good to me, those faster rhythms that incorporate a little bit of gospel, a little bit of the blues. It was jazz’s answer to cool and is still alive and kicking,” Brown explains. “Blakey was a master of hard bop. When I put people together—the youngest member of the quintet is 27—I’m following his example.” Keeping the art form vital, he believes, was one of Blakey’s greatest personal rewards and certainly solidified his contribution to the jazz world.
In the John Brown Quintet, Brown plays the string bass, with Ray Codrington on trumpet, Brian Miller on saxophone, Gabe Evens on piano and Adonis Rose on drums. Terms of Art, recorded in-studio at Overdub Lane in Durham, marks the quintet’s debut. Two more John Brown Quintet tributes to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers are in the works.
About John Brown
John Brown has performed in the United States and abroad with jazz greats Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Nicholas Payton and many others. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his performance and co-writing on vocalist Nnenna Freelon’s 1996 Concord release, Shaking Free. Brown counts Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note and Kennedy Center among the notable venues where he has performed, as well as major jazz fests such as the JVC Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival and Jazz à Vienne. As a performer, he toured Japan with the company of Blues in the Night and has acted or played at the National Black Theater Festival, the Broadway Series South and off-Broadway shows. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Web site: www.JBJazz.com
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Terms of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
John Brown Quintet
– John Brown (bass), Ray Codrington (trumpet), Brian Miller (saxophone), Gabe Evens (piano) and Adonis Rose (drums)
Label: House of Swing Records
Release date: November 6, 2007
Available at Amazon.com, CD Baby, iTunes and JBJazz.com
For more information, or to schedule an interview with John Brown, contact Mantra Public Relations, +1-212-645-1600.
More Information: http://www.jbjazz.com
Submitted By: Adri Cowan