Tag Archives: jazz

Barra Brown Quintet For a Young Heart

16 Jul

lincolnshow

July 16 is Jazz Day on The Music Court; Yes, I just extemporaneously made that proclamation. The reason? We need to talk about the Barra Brown Quintet. In order to do so, let’s all mentally travel to Portland, Oregon and join the youthful Jazz community who are making sweet, sweet music. So, who is Barra Brown? Trained flautist and drummer, member of four different musical collectives, composer of his aforementioned quintet, and all around tremendous musician. It should come as no surprise that the Portland Mercury wrote, “there are seemingly infinite amounts of up-and-coming musicians in Portland, but it’s very rare to find a universally talented musician with such promise.” I concur.

Interestingly, Brown’s quintet features Adam Brock, whose Indie/Folk stylings were featured on the blog back in January of 2014 (Read the post here) – he plays a fine guitar on the album. It also features the likes of trumpeter Thomas Barber, saxophonist Nicole Glover, and bassist Jon Lakey, all talented musicians in their own rights. These musicians, who are delicately put together by Brown, create an amalgamation of sound that is both daedalus, sensitive, and passionate. The blend is wonderful, and Brown’s quintet is carried with a youthful edge and trenchant maturity.

Back in 2013, the quintet released Songs for a Young Heart, which is the album I am highlighting today. The album, which seamlessly varies between vibrant effervescence and sun-drenched, dulcet warmth, is worth a full listen today, but if you only have time for two tracks, check out the two I include below.

“Song for a Young Heart,” the album’s title track, is my favorite on the 8-track album. It is a slow-moving, crescendoing piece that seems to echo the “young heart” as it swoons and gains emotion throughout its maturity. The song features an elegant guitar with a wonderful trumpet/saxophone interplay and crashing drums/bass. It’s a neat, cogent piece.

“How the West Was Won,” the first track on the album, is a quick piece, featuring a rock-inspired bass riff and a snap-your-finger trumpet line that is echoed by the saxophone. The bass is linked with an effective guitar solo. All of this, though, is carried by the drums, which are fragmented skillfully. It is not an easy percussion beat, yet Brown carries it effortlessly. It’s a cool piece to listen to.

Barra Brown and his quintet will release their new album – “Dreaming Awake” on July 29. Follow this link to a preorder 

Keep informed on Barra Brown’s activities on his website.

 

Celebrate the Racoon Wedding

16 Sep

Racoon Dead on the Side of the Road

Add one more notch on Brantford, Ontario’s belt. The city is the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky and Phil Hartman, and it is where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. It also houses the six members of the rising Indie/Rock band Racoon Wedding.  Racoon can be spelled with one C or two. I thought I’d obviate the spelling lesson.

Racoon Wedding is the music equivalent of what I would expect a raccoon wedding to be like: electric eccentricity, amicable drunkenness, poppy humor, and, most importantly, horn-fueled raccoon love. So, yeah, that odd comparison holds true for the sextet from telephone city.

Come tomorrow with the release of the new LP, Racoon Dead on the Side of the Road, the band will have successfully depicted the joy of raccoon passion and friendship (which the name of the band implies) and the harsh inevitability of death at the hand of a metal box traveling at speeds no raccoon can match. Who knew that they were a concept band?

All kidding aside, I’ve grown attached to the bluesy, Dr. Dog/Kay Kay and the Weathered Underground quirkiness and musical whimsicality of Racoon Wedding. With some bands (and I could feel this prior to watching the buddy/buddy bacchanal video below), you just know that friends are making music. And not like friends until some success presents itself and then “I’m going solo” becomes an overplayed comment. Friends who are friends who happen to make good music and have fun doing it. This comes through in the tunes, and it is one heck of a positive with Racoon Wedding.

The band is haphazardly touring throughout Ontario, but I do hope this post helps give them some more play in the States. Fraternal harmonies, New Orleans horns, and pop rhythms, when mixed effectively tend to engender popularity, and I predict good things for Racoon Wedding in the future.

The opening piano riff plays like a more bluesy version of a Jukebox the Ghost piece. The lead vocal is course-grained with a hint of southern cooking. The harmonies come from all angles and are extremely effective. Throw in some drunken horns (in the best possible way) and a taste of jazz/ragtime/period drums and you have a great song. Make sure to check out the rest of the album. Here is some information

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