Marion Brown

Back to Paris

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Marion Brown is frequently typecast as a free jazz player, yet this live set recorded in 1980 at Le Dreher in Paris is actually quite accessible. Brown and his band -- pianist Hilton Ruiz (who studied with Mary Lou Williams), bassist Jack Gregg, and drummer Freddie Waits -- seem quite inspired throughout this set of mostly originals. His opener, "Sunshine Road," blends Latin rhythms, gospel, and post-bop. His fragile-sounding alto sax is perfect for his lovely ballad "November Cotton Flower"; it is far removed from avant-garde and free jazz. The Brazilian flavor of his melodic "La Placita" could get any nightclub audience up and dancing. But best of all is his hilarious send-up of "Body and Soul," with Ruiz's stride piano and Waits playing at march tempo behind him. Sadly, this recommended Free Lance CD may be difficult to acquire due to the demise of the label.

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