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 Title:               Live at Firehouse 12

 By:                  Rob Brown Trio

 Released in:   2009

 Format:          CD

 Catalog No:    MW 813-2

 EAN:               5907589871180

 Price:             12 EUR


1. Quick be nimble

2. Walkabout

3. On a lark

4. Stray(horn)



Rob Brown - alto saxophone

Daniel Levin - cello

Satoshi Takeishi - percussion


November 2, 2008 and mixed March 29, 2009 at Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT


What the critics say:

Many years before I started this blog, I already had a kind of bookkeeping file of all my records, with pretty much the same evaluation system, also with a star notation. Of the seven albums that I have of alto saxophonist Rob Brown as a leader (and I know he released more than that), all of them have a four star rating, which demonstrates that, over the years, he not only managed to keep the same high quality of the performances itself, but also that he is sufficiently creative to keep things interesting and new to listeners. On this nice album, recorded live a the Firehouse in November of last year, Brown is accompanied by Daniel Levin on cello and Satoshi Takeishi on drums, the same band that released the great "Sounds" in 2007. Just like on that album, the music is very open, slow, disciplined and almost meditative at moments. The first piece "Quick Be Nimble" starts with an Ornette Coleman-like theme, and with the same stop-and-go kind of feeling, but then it shifts into a more impressionistic mode, letting go of all rhythm and melody, for some beautiful sound coloring, and a nice cello solo, then switching back to the theme, gentle and soft. The second composition is a real treat, with a plucked intro by Levin, the percussion slowly joining with nice bell-like sounds, and a beautiful melody by Brown, lightly dancing, joyful and sweet, but then the tune gets boppish in the middle, gathering tempo and volume, only to get slower again at the end. "On A Lark" is more in the free idiom, sounding totally improvised, but according to the liner notes it was composed. The last piece, "Stray(horn)", is a tribute to Billy Strayhorn (or what did you think?), played with possibly the slowest tempo possible, with alto phrasings by Brown that could fit the jazz of the fifties, but then never for long, because his true art lies of course in free expression and emotional expressivity, restrained yet intense, clear in tone yet powerful too, lamenting and singing at the same time. Brown is a great aloist, no doubt about it. He's a great composer too. And in Levin and Takeishi he found the perfect soulmates to deliver his delicate and free musical vision. The only thing lacking is the audience, where is it? 


(review courtesy of steff, freejazz-stef blogspot)




Rob Brown has been a mainstay in the groups put together by William Parker and has arguably done his most intensely impressive work with the Quartet, as well as bringing a distinctive voice to the Little Huey Orchestra. Brown's art continues to move forward.

Nothing could be further from Little Huey than Brown's Sounds trio (with Daniel Levin on cello and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi). Brown's band mates are masters of small gestures, which make their virtuosic flourishes all the more dramatic. Recorded live at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut, Brown's tone is forceful and controlled even when his energy sends him on the attack. Takeishi rattles his bones and his drums can sound flat and arid, but they can also roll and tumble like a sack of oranges that has been spilled down a grassy hill. At the center of the triangle is Levin, plucking the strings on his cello, as stalwart as any double-bass; plinking the strings in out-of-time duet with Takeishi or sawing the strings in screeching support of Brown's alto. 



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