ZZCD 9806 – A Rhythm Indicative – Contemporary Modern Jazz
Damon Brown – Trumpet & Gligelhorn, Christian Brewer – Alto Sax
The Jazz Rag – September/October 1998 (Issue 52)
For his debut recording as leader, trumpeter Damon Brown used a quintet with saxophonist Andy Panayi and guests on certain titles. Brown has a pleasing tone on trumpet and uses the mellow sound of the flügelhorn to good effect on a programme of eleven titles, all originals except for the closing Bye Bye Blackbird.
Brown displays an interesting variety in his phrasing, using tonal and rhythmic devices, both theme statements and soli – this is heard to particularly good effect on Blues For JW and on the boppish (ironically titled) Swing Features where his work in the middle register is incisive and economic. The highlight to this listener is the agile phrasing on Bye Bye Blackbird – Brown tears through his solo in a melodic but rapid way that recalls Clifford Brown.
Brown’s fellow musicians are to be complimented on their roles as support and in their own right.
For a debut album A Rhythm Indicative has much to commend it.
Judy’s Goat . Minnie The Minx. . Web. The Mondey’s Dream . Love Unfold . Blues for J.W. . Swing Featured . The Don . A Rhythm Indicative . It Hasn’6 Moved . Bye Bye Blackbird
Quintet: Damon Brown (trumpet, flugelhorn), Gareth Williams (piano), Geoff Gascoigne (bass), Winston Clifford (drums), andy Panayi (reeds), Christian Brewer (alto sax), Jonathan Gee (piano).
Ten out of eleven tracks on this issue are compositions by leader/trumpet, flugel player Damon Brown (the exception being the last title, a familiar standard), and it must be acknowledged that the performances are of consistently high musical quality – polished, with solos (as you might expect from the prestigious line-ups indicated above) of interest and originality: Brown’s poised, lightly-swinging horns supply and authoritative led and thoughtful solos modes. The basic quintet is composed of vastly experienced souls, welcome in multifarious manifestations of contemporary jazz activity, stylistically a melange of boppish unisons and well-written coontrapuntal confections all performed accurately with a steady finely-swinging verve and vigour. And then, the special guests contribute a flavour of hard-bop variations.
All in all then, as impressive album debut for the enterprising jazzmanb. it there is just one aspect of this package that does concern me a tad -nothing to do with the music, just policy, ten originals by Demon seem to create a situation of what I micht percieve as an element of anonymity. It might have been a more commercial ploy to have jazzstandards say, by Ellington, Mulligan or Kern, Proter and the like- strong melodies, finely-crafted sequences, something for the prospective investors to latch on to. There’s little amiss with the originals except perhaps their unfamiliarity. Yes, this programme is neat of tried-and-tested, shall we say, realignment of policy and preservation of such regard for musicality would wiith some flexibility (just a little clinical coolness tinctures the output here, I recon), would pay handsome future dividends for Damon and Company.