On March 11th, Ms. Brown became the first recipient of the 2006 ASCAP/International Jazz Composers’ Symposium’s New Music Award which was bestowed in conjunction with The Center for Jazz Composition at USF Tampa. As one of six finalists from a pool of over one hundred applicants, her piece, "The Lighthouse," was selected by three of the jazz community’s most highly regarded composers: Bob Brookmeyer, John Clayton and Dave Douglas.
RESPONSES FROM THE JAZZ COMMUNITY:
The following comment was made by one of Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra's strongest supporters, Chicago jazz journalist and author, Larry Kart: Organissmo Jazz Forums, August 8, 2007
"Not to play one woman off against another (which I don't think I'm doing), but one of the most impressive big band albums I've heard in recent years is this 2003 effort from Anita Brown, "27 East":
First, Brown (who happens to be the daughter of vaunted Tristano-ite tenor saxophonist Ted Brown and Phyllis Brown, also a onetime Tristano student) draws on the some of the same pool of NYC freelancers that Schneider does. Second, Brown's music is also fairly programmatic at times, though IMO she's one those rare composers who language gifts are spurred by programmatic setups (references to the sea, lighthouses, etc.) rather than being illustrative of them. Finally, (again IMO) she has a much more adventurous, sharp-edged musical mind than does Schneider, plus a wider range of colors and moods. And her band plays its collective ass off for her.
Check out the clips from the album (and elsewhere) on Brown's site -- the most effective in excerpt probably being "The Lighthouse" (written for Greg Gisbert) and "The Touch of You." Be sure too to click on the links in which Brown gives some background for each piece. Also, while these performances were done in the studio, they were, out of economic necessity, all complete unedited takes."
"Anita Brown writes ambling if disarming charts that...reveal myriad details of subtle wit and flexible spirit. 'The Lighthouse' shines a mournful beacon, using brass with the acumen and majesty of Johnny Richards."
--Fred Bouchard, DownBeat Magazine
"Anita's "27 East" is one of the best large ensemble jazz recordings I've heard in a long while. She has her own pallete and brushstrokes. To put it another way, to really write for an orchestra, one needs to have genuine orchestral thoughts, and Anita has them. She is a composer who's bursting with stories to tell. Urgent stories, and lots of different kinds of stories too. She has swallowed and legitimately incorporated her influences and sounds only like herself."
--Larry Kart, Author: Jazz In Search of Itself
"Anita Brown's debut recording makes a resounding statement of the wholesomely vital values of big band writing and performance. [Her] giftedness is channeled into her soulful music with strongly perceptible values... Carving out new growth paths...she smoothly weds substance with inspiration and passion, thus fashioning beautiful music. Anita Brown serves serious notice with her maiden voyage orchestra...[and] her unquestioned position of firm strength and resonant originality."
--Dr. Herb Wong, Jazz Education Journal
"[This] band is in the same category [as] the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Maria Schneider. [Anita's] compositions are marvelous tone poems...and the band brought them off beautifully. Serious, beautiful writing and a wonderful group..."
--Marvin Stamm, Trumpet Artist
“A loving, caring band making great music together. Fantastic arrangements. Anita’s charts blew me away!”
--Sheila Jordan, Legendary Vocalist
"This new recording by Anita Brown has been a long time in coming and it is truly worth the wait!! Anita has the ability to write music from the soul and for the soul. Get this CD, you'll love it! Guaranteed!"
--Jon Faddis, Trumpet Artist
"[This] CD is so good! I'm enjoying it...and hear new things every day."
--Don Sebesky, Arranger/Orchestrator
"The debut CD of the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra fills me with hope and lifts my spirit. Her skills as an arranger and bandleader convince me that the future for big bands is in good hands!! "
--Dennis Mackrel, Drummer/Arranger
"Everything about '27 EAST' is so great. [Anita] seems to have captured every feeling [she] was inspired by."
--Gene Bertoncini, Guitarist
"I was very glad to be a part of this recording."
--Jim McNeely, Pianist/Composer &
Co-Producer of "27 EAST"
"You GOTTA hear this! It's so organic! It's time!"
--Lee Finkelstein, Drummer
"Watching her conduct her ABJO performing her own music is to witness joy in its purest form...a journey full of power, depth and imagination."
--Dr. Judith Schlesinger, Nite & Disc
"This superior album should be treated as a major event within the big band firmament... This is a major work that will transcend any doubts one may have about contemporary big band writing and performance."
--John Killoch, Mainly Big Bands: www.btinternet.com
"[Anita] couldn't have arranged a more impressive coming-out party... aided and abetted on 27 EAST by a blue-chip New York-based ensemble..."
--Jack Bowers, www.allaboutjazz.com
"Wonderful. A beautifully evocative record! I love it. Gorgeous textures, color, and tones."
--John Hammel, WNTI, 91.9 FM,
"27 EAST" was recorded at Clinton Recording Studios on March 24 & 25, 2003 by Engineer James Farber, assisted by Jeremy Welch. While the executive producer is Anita Brown, musically the co-producers were both Jim McNeely and Anita Brown. It was mastered at AlgoRhythms by Michael MacDonald, with James Farber and Anita Brown on June 2, 2003.
Band Personnel is as follows:
REEDS: Dave Pietro, Todd Bashore, Tom Christensen, Jason Rigby, Ed Xiques.
TRUMPETS: Jon Owens, Evan Barker, Scott Harrell, Greg Gisbert, Nick Marchione.
TROMBONES: Mark Patterson, Pete McGuinness, Bruce Eidem, Mike Christianson, Jeff Nelson.
FRENCH HORN: Theresa MacDonnell
PIANO: Mike Holober
BASS: Mary Ann McSweeney
DRUMS: Tim Horner, Lee Finkelstein
VOCALS: Anita Brown
All selections were composed, arranged & conducted by
Anita Brown, Anita Brown Publishing, BMI.
Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra is an ensemble comprised of seventeen players, led by its founder Anita Brown. It is dedicated to performing her own compositions and arrangements under her direction and has been performing in Metropolitan New York since July 2000.
Following an extensive career in Music Education, Anita Brown made her way to the prestigious BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop in 1995, embarking upon her calling as a composer. There she began building a body of work for jazz orchestra under the guidance of Jim McNeely and Manny Albam. As a contributing composer featured in the workshop's annual concerts through 2003, she was nominated as a finalist in its 2001 and 2003 competitions for her works "27 EAST" and "Shifting Tides of Montauk", respectively. In 2000 she founded Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra, independently recording and releasing her debut CD "27 EAST" in 2003. This critically acclaimed recording appeared in six categories on the ballot for the 46th Grammy Awards and is currently available at www.cdbaby.com/abjo.
Brown's works have been featured by The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, The BMI New York Jazz Orchestra, The U.S Army's Jazz Ambassadors and she is currently writing for Nnenna Freelon's 2005 tour with The Count Basie Orchestra. She maintains her relationship with Music Education through her Composer Residency Project, a flexible supplementary curriculum designed to bring young musicians through the process of composition under her guidance.
The seventeen players Brown leads from the podium are among New York's finest, most seasoned jazz players. Many are involved in personal projects, with recordings released both commercially and independently. The band's collective credits include associations with The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band, Joe Lovano, Clark Terry, John Pizzarelli, Ray Charles, Liza Minelli, Paul Anka, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, The New York Pops, The O-Jays, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jamie Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, Hofstra University, City College of New York and University of Miami as well as countless jazz recordings, Broadway shows, soundtracks, films and jingles. This exceptional ensemble breathes life into Ms. Brown's works with conviction and finesse.
ABJO is currently available for performances and clinics.
For more information please visit www.anitabrownmusic.com.