Archive for the Marion BROWN Category

Marion BROWN & Gunter HAMPEL – Reeds 'n Vibes 1978

Posted in Gunter HAMPEL, JAZZ, Marion BROWN on December 10, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Marion BROWN & Gunter HAMPEL – Reeds ‘n Vibes 1978


Alto saxophonist Marion Brown is an under-sung hero of the jazz avant-garde. Committed to discovering the far-flung reaches of improvisational expression, Brown nonetheless is possessed of a truly lyrical voice but is largely ignored when discussions of free jazz of the ’60s and ’70s are concerned. Brown came to New York from Atlanta in 1965. His first session was playing on John Coltrane’s essential Ascension album. He made two records for the ESP label in 1965 and 1966 — Marion Brown Quartet and Why Not? — and also played on two Bill Dixon soundtracks. It wasn’t until his defining Three for Shepp (including Grachan Moncur III and Kenny Burrell) on the Impulse label in 1966 that critics took real notice. This set, lauded as one of the best recordings of that year, opened doors for Brown (temporarily) to tour. He didn’t record for another two years because of extensive European engagements, and in 1968 issued Porto Novo (with Leo Smith) on the Black Lion label. In 1970, Brown recorded Afternoon of a Georgia Faun for the ECM label, his second classic. This date featured Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille, Bennie Maupin, Jeanne Lee, and Chick Corea, among others. In 1973, he cut his second Impulse session, Geechee Recollections, with Leo Smith. Brown registered at Wesleyan University in the mid-’70s, studying ethnic instruments and black fife-and-drum corps music and maintained a regular recording schedule. He also recorded with Gunter Hampel in the late ’70s and ’80s, as well as composer Harold Budd on his Pavilion of Dreams album — issued on Brian Eno’s Obscure label — Steve Lacy in 1985, Mal Waldron in 1988, and many others. There are numerous duet and solo recordings that may or may not be sanctioned. Due to health problems, Brown hasn’t recorded since 1992.
By Thom Jurek, Rovi.
Hampel is one of jazz’s most prolific and self-reliant musicians. In 1969, he formed Birth Records to release The 8th of July 1969, an album of his compositions performed by a group that included Anthony Braxton, Jeanne Lee, Steve McCall, Willem Breuker, and Arjen Gorter. Since then, Birth has released nearly 50 albums of Hampel’s work in a variety of configurations; some of his performance and recording groups have been the Gunter Hampel Jazz Quintet, “Heartplants” Quintet, World Community Orchestra, Free Jazz Trio, and New York Orchestra.

Hampel began piano lessons at the age of four. By the time he was 16, he had added recorder, accordion, clarinet, saxophone, and vibes. His first exposure to jazz came at the end of World War II; American troops occupying his hometown of Gottingen listened to jazz on the Armed Forces Network and Willis Conover’s Voice of America shows. The first jazz he heard was by Louis Armstrong; it affected him deeply. He grew up under the influence of European classical and folk music, as well as jazz. He formed his own jazz bands in his teens playing all styles of jazz, from early jazz to bebop. He also began composing his own tunes. After military service in the late ’50s, Hampel studied architecture while continuing to play music on the side. By 1958, he had started playing jazz professionally. In 1964, he established the “Heartplants” Quintet, which included Alex von Schlippenbach and Manfred Schoof. The group recorded Heartplants (MPS/SABA), Hampel’s first album, which received a five-star rating from Down Beat magazine. Hampel began playing festivals in Europe and elsewhere. He met vocalist Jeanne Lee in 1967 and began a long personal and musical partnership that lasted many years. In the ’60s, he recorded for the Wergo and ESP labels and played with such American musicians as drummer Steve McCall and saxophonist Marion Brown.

With the formation of Birth, Hampel was able to document his music more completely; since the early ’70s he’s recorded an array of combinations, from duos to big bands. His various ensembles have included such famous musicians as Bill Frisell, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and Albert Mangelsdorff, as well as such fine if unsung talents as Mark Whitecage, Perry Robertson, and David Eyges. In 1997, Hampel reconstituted his band with Schoof and von Schlippenbach for a gig at the Musik Triennale in Koln. The concert was recorded and the results were released on Birth under the title Legendary. Hampel continued going strong, touring and recording with musicians all over the world. As one might expect from so self-sufficient an artist, Hampel has embraced the Internet with a passion. His website is one of the most comprehensive devoted to a single musician. Hampel is also an accomplished painter.
By Chris Kelsey, Rovi.
Alto Sax, Flute [Wood], Percussion- Marion Brown
Vibraphone, Flute, Percussion- Gunter Hampel
Written-By- Hampel (tracks: A1, A3 to B2) , Brown (tracks: A2, B1, B2)
A1. And Then They Embraced
A2. Solo
A3. Arrow In The Wind
B1. Flute Song
B2. Improvisation

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Marion BROWN – Porto Novo 1967

Posted in JAZZ, Marion BROWN on November 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Marion BROWN – Porto Novo 1967
1975 Issue. AL 1001


This was one of altoist Marion Brown’s best recordings. Although a very adventurous improviser, Brown usually brought lyricism and a thoughtful (if unpredictable) approach to his music. Accompanied by bassist Maarten van Regteben Altena and drummer Han Bennink for this stimulating session (recorded in Holland), Brown stretches out on five of his compositions and is heard at the peak of his creative powers.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
Well blow me down! Han Bennink is for sure one of the most creative drummers that jazz music has ever heard. This recording is centered more on the Brown/Bennink combination, and that works as good as the Cherry/Blackwell combination on Mu. I find a strong similarity between these recordings as Brown could appreciate retreating in order to let the other player speak in his own tongue, both Brown and Cherry had this special gift of staying silent without making it look like lack of inspiration. Brown had a very special, dizzying yet melodic way of knotting notes and lines in quite unexpected ways (his Solo Saxophone recording is also a very welcome addition), and on Improvisation he has no difficulty in showing his more frenetic, discordant improvisation procedure. The duet between Brown and Leo Smith on And Then They Danced is also noteworthy, and while the bass player did not shine at the level of Bennink (hell, how many can really keep up with such a machine gun?) and Brown, it is every bit as original as Quartet, Juba-Lee, Why Not, Sweet Earth Flying, Solo at Yale and Afternoon Of A Georgia Faun. Definitely recommended!
By Moritat.
Marion Brown is not a very well-known saxophonist. That’s a shame (IMO). While he doesn’t play 1000 notes a minute or play intricate notes on complicated chord extensions, he has a remarkably simple sound which is instantly recognizable; bluesy and soulful but also a bit melancholic and vulnerable, really unique!!! He is really one of the best examples of the free-jazz revolution that Ornette Coleman and other initiated, there was no place for individualists like him in the Hard-bop/mainstream jazz scene so he (like all the best free-jazz musicians) tried to create totally personal music, to be themselves in a market dominated by copycats and followers. This record features Marion with two great european musicians: bassist Marten AAltena and the EXPLOSIVE drummer Han Bennink. Together they improvise freely over Browns simple and beautiful melodies. This record is one of my favourites from the more obscure free-jazz 60’s records and is definitely worth buying!!!
By Jacob Hellberg.
Alto saxophonist Marion Brown has always existed on the periphery of avant-garde jazz. His lithe soloing has by and large eschewed the edgy, colorful flare-ups that constantly cap Ornette Coleman’s most brilliant runs. This trio session features Brown in ideal company, with then-youthful drummer Han Bennink and bassist Marteen Altena filling out the group. Together, the group trots the line between fluid motion and crisp execution, with Brown’s alto making pungent jabs amidst Bennink’s popping drumming and Altena’s rubbery bass. Most impressively, Brown captures the continuity from Johnny Hodges’ swing to the avant-garde’s high energy in his catholic sound and in this trio’s pouncing intensity.
By Andrew Bartlett.
Even in the jazz world, Marion Brown is fairly obscure (despite having briefly played with John Coltrane). In fact I may have never discovered Brown myself-despite having a couple of thousnad of jazz recordings-if it weren’t for composer Harold Budd writing and dedicating one of his very best compositions to Brown (who Budd said was his very favorite saxophonist). Being an enormous fan of Budd’s work and being a jazz fan I decided to check out Browns own work finally, years later.
I don’t remember exactly why I picked up “Porto Novo”-it may have been my appreciation of the Black Lion jazz label-or because I love very small group and solo recordings (probably for both reasons I chose this).
This recording contains 2 different sessions: December 1967 trio with Bassist Regteren Altena and Drummer Han Bennink, and a session from December 1970 , a duet with Leo Smith on trumpet and percussion.
As I said i’m partial to small groups, so I really like these recordings. Don’t expect great sound quality-this was in general a lousy time for recorded jazz since most engineers were getting in touch with the recording of rock and pop music which is quite different from acoustic jazz. But at least the recording is fairly clear.
I don’t know if Black Lion is now defunct as a label or not-I hope not. However, here in the U.S. this has been out of print since the American label that distributed Black Lion recordings here, DA Music, is out of business, sadly..
By Phasedin.
Bass- Maarten Altena
Drums- Han Bennink
Alto Sax- Marion Brown
A1. Similar Limits  6:25
A2. Sound Structure  6:10
A3. Improvisation  5:50
B1. QBIC  6:32
B2. Porto Novo  11:55

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Mal WALDRON, Marion BROWN – Much More! 1988

Posted in JAZZ, Mal WALDRON, Marion BROWN on November 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Mal WALDRON, Marion BROWN – Much More! 1988
Recorded November 14-15, 1988


Alto saxophonist Marion Brown played on John Coltrane’s Ascension, and he has worked closely with leading figures of the jazz avant-garde, including Sun Ra and Archie Shepp. However, his lyrical – and even tender – tone sets him apart from the more strident voices of his musical generation.

Some musicians go through some awfully weird stuff just to get people to pay attention, Brown told Jazz & Pop magazine in 1967. Well, I’m not about to play the fool. I’m not going to let my hair grow long or wear funny hats. I’m not even particularly interested in having people look at me when I play. I just wish they’d listen. I hope my horn has enough hair and funny hats coming out of it.
Mal Waldron – piano
Marion Brown – alto sax
01. Soul Mates (Waldron) 9:39
02. Someone to Watch Over Me (George & Ira Gershwin) 4:55
03. All God’s Chillum Got Rhythm (Jurmann,Kaper,Kahn) 3:30
04. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers,Hart) 6:37
05. I Can’t Get Started (V. Duke,C. Paker) 6:31
06. The Inch Worm (F. Loesser) 6:30
07. My Old Flame (Johnston , Coslow) 12:50

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