This is the second part of a triple tribute to the tenor saxophonist Ted Brown, someone I admire immensely — for his quiet lyricism, his floating melodic improvisations that seem to come directly from his heart through the bell of his horn.
And Ted — soft-spoken, reticent, not a man to call attention to himself — reversed the usual practice in December 2012 when it came to celebrating his eighty-fifth birthday. Instead of sitting at a table surrounded by people who love and admire him, opening gifts and receiving congratulations, Ted gave us presents — as you will see and hear below.
This is conclusion of a divinely inspired evening at Michael Kanan’s Brooklyn studio, The Drawing Room (December 2); the third part will document an evening at Somethin’ Jazz (December 13) where Ted was joined by the energetically lyrical trumpeter Bob Arthurs. At The Drawing Room, Ted performed with tenor saxophonist Brad Linde and Michael Kanan as guiding spirits. For once, I will leave all commentary aside: Ted’s music really speaks deeply for itself, a mixture of lightness and deep feeling — conscious spiritual homage to Lester Young.
The first part of that concert can be seen here — with beautiful playing from Murray Wall, Taro Okamoto, Sarah Hughes, Kirk Knuffke, Chris Lightcap;, Matt Wilson.
More! With new friends joining in — the other musicians sitting and admiring.
ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE (Ted, Brad Linde, Sarah Hughes, reeds; Michael Kanan, piano; Putter Smith, string bass; Hyland Harris, drums):
LENNIE’S (Ted, Brad, Ethan Iverson, piano; Kirk Knuffke, cornet; Putter Smith, Hyland Harris):
THESE FOOLISH THINGS (just perfect — Ted, Ethan Iverson — whose idea it was to call a ballad — Putter Smith, Hyland Harris):
POUND CAKE (a Lester Young blues line in G: Ted, Brad, Ethan Iverson, Murray Wall, Taro Okamoto):
YARDBIRD SUITE (Ted, Brad, Michael Kanan, Will Caviness, trumpet; Murray Wall, Taro Okamoto):
What astonishing music! Happy birthday, Mr. Brown — with more music and more birthdays to come.
Ted has released two new compact discs: one, TWO OF A KIND Bleebop 1202, pairs him with Brad; POUND CAKE, Steeplechase 31749, puts him alongside Kirk and Matt. I will have more to say about these discs in 2013, but you don’t need my permission to venture boldly into ownenership. Delicious airs!
And for some of my more “traditionally-minded” readers wd to back away from this “modern” jazz . . . . listen deeply and you will hear Lester and Jo Jones — their swing, their lightness — brought into this century by warm gentle improvising men and women.
Thanks to the spirits — Lester, Jo, Lennie, Bird — and to the people in the room: Hyland and Ben, Stephanie and Lena . . . as well as to the heroes making the music. They all have made The Drawing Room a holy place.
May your happiness increase.