You can say a lot about the Brown Brothers, but you must say that they record some truly exquisite music. Case in point, this never before released outtake from the infamous Gold Sounds sessions (2005).
This is James Carter on Soprano Sax, Cyrus Chestnut on Piano, Ali Jackson on Drums, and Reginald “Swingdoom” Veal on upright bass.
This bit of magic from the Men of Gold is an impromptu riff that beckons the beauty of Mr. Sidney Bechet.
We hope you enjoy this interlude – check back here often for new content – the staff is feeling ornery these days…
Some may call it a creative slump, others a crisis of inaction – either way, we’re here to tell you that they’re BOTH right.
Brown Bros. Inc. is in a rut my friends – trying to survive in the big city. Trying to feed a whole lot of mouths. Trying to do something, anything of value.
Seasons change, things change – and we intend to resurface at some point in the future with news – what type of news, that’s hard to say – but in the meantime – we ask your patience and good wishes, and we’ll see you on the other side.
Blotto West – Somewhere in the hills of New York, October ’22
Marshall Allen turned 98 years old this month people. 98 years old. I watched him perform yesterday – on a hot and dry summer day – a real mountain classic of a day – sun and sun – and very few clouds. He led the Sun Ra Arkestra – a band 13 strong – horns everywhere, percussion, guitars and such – and a lovely singer.
This band moved. They moved and they grooved. The maestro – Marshall Allen. The man is 98 – and creating. Ah yes, creating. Why are we all not creating more. Less hate, more love, more creating – we’d kill all wars fast.
Years back, I had this idea that if people across the world were listing to more Joni Mitchell, songs like “Song for Sharon” for example, – there would be less wars, less fighting, less petty bullshit. Just play that song – then play it 100 more times – what does it mean ? and Joni just going – going and going with no pause.
Where is this essay going ? Feel like it’s going nowhere – so let’s pause. Until the next time – love and kisses to you.
-Blotto West, Later May, 2022 – somewhere in the wilds of the mountains…
The Brown Brothers brass sprung open the checkbook to send this intrepid reporter on a road trip into the mountains of northwest Massachusetts, to see a music and arts festival, and to scour the landscape for local foodstuffs.
2 days in, and I can gladly report that the experience has been a fantastic one. The fresh air has been invigorating – the people convivial, and the sights and sounds sensational.
I find that when we leave our comforts and routine that we find inspiration.
Wilco, the Jeff Tweedy led outfit from Chicago, IL is the force behind the Solid Sound Festival, 3 days of music and art spread across the majestic glory of one of our great cultural institutions – MASS MoCA.
The band curates the festival with love and intelligence – a few highlights for me: The Mike Watt Trio – I caught the last 20 or so minutes of their set – joined by Wilco’s powerhouse guitarist Nels Cline – hypnotic, powerful and groovy. This is Southern California goodness at its goodest.
And the Prince, Bonnie Prince Billy – playing a lovely set – a sextet dripping in gentleness – part acoustic, part plugged-in, all beauty. The BPB team handed out lyric sheets for their set – and encouraged the crowd to singalong with them – a plea to celebrate the togetherness of the moment.
But creativity – my takeaway from this event was creativity – the ability to let your mind go and to follow your muse, heck to find your muse. To move out of our workaday existences and to stretch ourselves. Why? because that feels good – and it grows us – in more ways than we can imagine.
I hope that this essay has inspired ya – or at the least didn’t sicken y’all. I will be back in the saddle today for the last day of the festival, and look forward to reporting back here soon.
Keep those cards and letters coming people – your words mean everything to me.
– Blotto West, somewhere in the mountains, late May 2022
Over the years, those that follow the boys in Brown have probably gotten used to our shameless self-promotion – well LOOK OUT, because here comes more….
Back in January of 2018, Brown Brothers Promotion (the live arm of BBR) booked a highly successful 2 nite, 4 set engagement featuring Cyrus Chestnut and Warren Wolf – @ An Die Musik in their hometown of Baltimore, Md.
During this fully sold-out engagement, we were able to record both sets on the 2nd nite of those shows. These recordings have been painstakingly edited and mixed – making the release of this album (and an onslaught of live dates) a reality (or at least more than just a dream).
So dear friends – we ask that you sit back, relax and unwind as we move closer to our goal of bringing you something special.
Thanks as always – and don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
Here I am, writing this missive on January 17th, 2022. A day that honors the great Martin Luther King – a man of substance, intelligence and true greatness.
In no uncertain terms, 2021 was a bit of a dud for the boys in Brown. We didn’t record or release any new music – and if that is ultimately what a label is judged on, it was a pop gun of a year.
But, perhaps we should look on the bright side. 2021 saw the Brownies muster the strength (and financial commitment) to mix a live recording by Cyrus Chestnut and Warren Wolf. The recording was made in January of 2018, in Baltimore, MD @ a club called An Die Muzik.
In August, Mr. Ben Kane mixed the record @ his Electric Garden studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn under the watchful eye of Steven B. Mandel. The forthcoming album, tentatively titled “Charmed” is currently in post-production – awaiting both an agreement with the principal Artists, and the wherewithal to master and press the record up to Brown Brothers’ elite standards (we will also be releasing the music digitally).
More to come on this landmark recording – watch this space…
Not much more to say about 2021 – except it was a year full of the typical heartaches, losses, a spare victory or two, and some beautiful, beautiful moments.
We appreciate the support of you – our loyal patrons, and look forward to an excitement filled 2022.
Way back in another lifetime, one of toil and blood… So there they were, young and bold – sitting behind the console @ Electric Lady Studio B – less cares, responsibilities and pains; watching 4 Men create something beautiful, inspired by something beautiful – making it their own, making it the world’s to hear.
This is 5-4 = Unity, performed by James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Ali Jackson and Reginald “Swingdoom” Veal, a track nominally written by Stephen Malkmus, but really a riff on Dave Brubeck’s seductive and legendary smash-hit “Take Five” (from 1959’s Time Out).
Pavement’s 5-4 was released in 1994 on the profound “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” – an album cut that exposed the band’s creativity and artful-sloppiness. Fast forwarding a decade, the then Principals of BBR, LLC. were brainstorming an album of Pavement covers – recorded by elite Jazzers of the day – what you are about to hear was part of the fruitful bounty of those dreams.
This is 5-4 = Unity, a track recorded by @StevenMandel during the illustrious Gold Sounds sessions @ the mighty, mighty Electric Lady Studios. This one did not make the release of that scorching record, but was played live by the band several times during a busy touring schedule in support of the album.
So now, sit back, relax and unwind – have a listen to a freaked out version of 5-4 = Unity by the Gold Sounds Quartet….