With the mid-March release of his new album, THE CYCLE OF LOVE (Brown Records), trumpet virtuoso Maurice Brown takes another giant step forward as an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, and performer. Brown’s soulful melodies and infectious personality are a dynamic package that uniquely marries traditional be-bop to hip-hop. The road to THE CYCLE OF LOVE has been a long, albeit creative trek for the Chicago native. Six years after his critically acclaimed, chart-topping debut, HIP TO BOP, hit the jazz world with staggering force, Brown is back with his stellar band, The Maurice Brown Effect, for his second album.
Brown displayed a remarkable affinity for the trumpet at a young age; he played with Ramsey Lewis at the Symphony Center in Chicago while still a student at Hillcrest High School. Following graduation in 1999, he received a full scholarship to attend Northern Illinois University. After winning first place in the esteemed National Miles Davis Trumpet Competition, Maurice found new flavor in the heart of Louisiana, where he continued his studies at Southern University in Baton Rouge, working with famed clarinetist Alvin Batiste. In 2002, Brown relocated to a pre-Katrina New Orleans where his musical talent tore up the Crescent City. Locally and internationally, he shared the stage with numerous jazz legends, including Clark Terry, Johnny Griffin, Curtis Fuller, Stefon Harris, Ellis Marsalis, and Lonnie Plaxico. Brown was also featured as a sideman on recordings with Curtis Fuller, Fred Anderson, Roy Hargrove, Michelle Carr, and Ernest Dawkins, among others. Maurice captivated audiences at New Orleans’ premiere jazz club, Snug Harbor, where he was a weekly headliner.
In 2004, at age 23, he delivered his first album as a bandleader, HIP TO BOP, with the Maurice Brown Quintet. His critically acclaimed debut foreshadowed Maurice’s unique talent for expanding the boundaries of bop-inflected jazz. His willingness to explore and develop the genre's lexicon through innovative techniques (like playing trumpet solos through a wah-wah pedal) made him a much in demand musician. Be-bop enthusiasts and hip-hoppers embraced Maurice’s passionate, improvisational rhythms
Unfortunately, Katrina’s devastation didn’t spare Maurice, who lost his home and many of his musical artifacts in the hurricane’s destruction. What Katrina couldn’t take from Brown was his desire to give the world his music. With a growing fan base that included musicians, critics, concert-goers, and listeners, Brown took his talent to Brooklyn, settling into historic Bedford Stuyvesant. He reformed his own quintet and also resurrected the ultra-underground hip-hop/funk combo, Soul'd U Out, which he previously started in New Orleans with local NOLA musicians. Living in New York City also increased the demand for his talent: the trumpeter’s versatility allowed him to run the gamut on recordings with talented artists from Aretha Franklin to Talib Kweli, Wyclef Jean, Cee-Lo, De La Soul, The Roots, and Diddy.
Atlantic Records president, Craig Kallman tapped Brown to become the musical director for the recording artist and Irish soul songstress, Laura Izibor, on her first international tour. Brown’s band, the Maurice Brown Effect, backed up Izibor’s resoundingly successful year-long maiden voyage around the world. Immersed in the grittier lifestyle of Brooklyn, when he wasn’t on tour, Brown took his time composing and recording THE CYCLE OF LOVE. The result is an album that communicates Brown’s long journey from Katrina to Brooklyn. Poignant, passionate but still swinging with improvisational rhythms, THE CYCLE OF LOVE furthers embraces Brown’s be-bop roots and hip-hop hooks. As Jason Koransky, from Downbeat Magazine, noted: "Brown is one of the most exciting young trumpeters in jazz--be it New Orleans or New York. His improvisations are fresh, his chops dynamic and he’s writing what could very well become a new generation of hard-bop-meets-new-grooves standards."
Brown is an unpretentious, cultured soul who is the subject of Adam Barton’s forthcoming documentary, BRASS MOVEMENT: A MODERN JAZZ STORY, set to premiere later this year. “Brass Movement” chronicles the twists and turns of completing THE CYCLE OF LOVE as well as Maurice's dogged insistence on charting his own course, bred by the rare success of his debut album and a life uprooted post-Katrina.
Brown and the Full Effect are beginning 2010 with dates all over the word, including Jakarta, Indonesia, New Delhi, India and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. To quote the legendary trumpeter, Clark Terry: “Brownie is the young trumpeter to watch for sure. I see young cats all over the world and Maurice has it.” And THE CYCLE OF LOVE delivers it.