Alan Brown: Between the Spaces (Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Alan Brown: Phonology
Alan Brown: Between the Spaces (Ode)

New Zealand keyboard player Alan Brown -- who has previously been in Blue Train and is currently in the Grand Central Band -- is on record saying that rather than writing a jazz album he wanted all his influences, classical to electronica and rock, to find their voice with his quartet for this release.

And with saxophonist Nathan Haines guesting and string players alongside guitarist Andy Smith, bassist Marika Hodgson and drummer Jono Sawyer, he can quite comfortable tick the "mission accomplished" box -- although this is still squarely in the jazz idiom.

The discrete pieces here are sometimes cool like the soundtrack to an intellectual film (State of Mind with Haines on soprano), nightclub funky in the manner of Blue Train in the Nineties (The Dancer and Chess, Sustainable Resources) or distinctly edgy (Broken Dreams) and there is also an elegant sophistication underpinning them even when -- as on the more urgent Do Not Track and Seventies-styled jazz-rock of Phonology -- the tempo kicks up and, guitarist Smith in particular, they offer influences from the rock end of the spectrum.

One of the most interesting pieces among the many which command attention is Hashra'ah which, with its thoughtful piano introduction suggesting contemporary classical influences before easing through a central section which takes off on hypnotic tangents, wouldn't sound out of place on any classy European jazz release.

From the opener Sounding Out (a title which rather undersells itself) to the string trio-coloured Epilogue (which is preceded by the exploratory, eight minute-plus Tableau), this is a world class, sometimes elegant and always diverting collection of originals where the hallmarks are quality playing and a singular commitment of purpose by Brown and his younger colleagues.

Very smart stuff. Recommended.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

CHARLIE HADEN, JAZZ BASSIST AND COMPOSER: Like dreamers do . . .

CHARLIE HADEN, JAZZ BASSIST AND COMPOSER: Like dreamers do . . .

By rights, 71year old bassist/composer Charlie Haden shouldn’t be around in jazz today. Like so many of his generation he had a heroin addiction in the early 60s and often wouldn’t show... > Read more

MARVIN “SMITTY” SMITH REMEMBERED (2015): Give the drummers some

MARVIN “SMITTY” SMITH REMEMBERED (2015): Give the drummers some

Because I always worked as a journalist, even if it was in the world of music, I never considered myself part of the music world. I was always only ever the “outsider”. The... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DUKE ROBILLARD INTERVIEWED (2004): Still in that room full of blues

DUKE ROBILLARD INTERVIEWED (2004): Still in that room full of blues

When you think of Rhode Island, you don't immediately think of it as a crucible of the blues. It's the state north of New York so small you could carpet it, the home of the red chicken - Rhode... > Read more

WILLIE NELSON INTERVIEWED 1998: The hard working lazy man

WILLIE NELSON INTERVIEWED 1998: The hard working lazy man

There’s not a lot you can say about the latest Willie Nelson album Teatro. Produced by Daniel Lanois, it’s Nelson’s second for the Island label after the critically acclaimed... > Read more