Cliff Brown

In the Meantime

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This CD by guitarist Cliff Brown sounds so fresh and lively that it is a surprise to realize that it was not released until 14 years after it was recorded. Brown, who is a fine bop-based guitarist, jams blues and a song apiece by Ricky Ford, Dexter Gordon ("Bonna Rue"), and Wes Montgomery with two different groups of California-based musicians, some of whom were members of Black/Note in the 1990s. A 1984 graduate of Howard University with a B.A. in Jazz Studies, Brown spent a period in the Navy, playing in their jazz bands. After eight months living and performing in Seattle he settled in Los Angeles, where he has worked as a studio guitarist and appeared in local clubs ever since. The most unusual selection on In the Meantime is "D-Mob," a hip-hop/jazz performance that is quite exuberant and successful. Most of the other music is more conventional but no less spirited, with altoist James Mahone and several different pianists getting their opportunities to stretch out along with the fine guitarist, who deserves to be much better known. Recommended.

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