Rob Brown Trio


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Accompanied by Wilber Morris on bass and Lou Grassi on drums, New York's Rob Brown leads his trio on perhaps the most "inside" date he's ever played. Comprised of seven tracks, all of them supposedly improvisations, Brown and co. take a deep walk through the lake of blues as it has evolved alongside and inside jazz and the free improvisation movement. With "A Step Out the Door," Brown moves from quoting John Hurt to Hoagy Carmichael almost in the same breath, easing his delivery on the alto saxophone making it warble, sing, and even swing as he touches bases on all the mentors in blues and jazz: we can hear Monk, Rollins, McLean, Gershwin, Son House, Champion Jack, etc. On "Pivot-Full Swing," the rhythm section gets an opportunity to collectively wrest the control of harmony and the space/time continuum from the soloist. Brown plays catch up as Morris, using a bow and playing pizzicato, shapes a harmonic architecture, which Morris accents with rolls across the tom toms and with shimmering cymbal work. Brown finds himself in the unlikely position of playing ostinato for much of the tune. On "Pussy Foot," Brown's alto flute resonates in a sweet blues, caroling through the center of a random rhythmic setup. All ballad, it lilts and carries forth in half lines and parsed phrases, allowing Morris to fill in the necessary transition lines toward the next idea. The entire album is a meditation on the instinct of blues and mood, and as such it presents Brown in an entirely different light as a soloist and as a leader.

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