Chuck Flores in the Feb. addition of “BUDDY” the original Texas music magazine reviewed “ROUGH SAX.”
His review follows.
With his warm soothing tone and his lyrical phrasing, Christopher Brown’s sax harkens back to an earlier age, when lounges were dark, smoky, sultry and cool.
On the Metrosong CD. ROUGH SAX, producer/arranger Chip Evens allows Brown’s artistry to come through. Whether it’s the aptly named “Space Jam” with its moody motifs or some of the more exotic grooves like “Bay of Pigs,” “Tango in F” of the reggae tinged “Angry Bob.”
The arrangements on these 13 instrumentals are deliberately stark: the only other musicians featured are Evans on piano and guitar and Mike McCraw on drums, and even then their presence is very limited. The spare production only accentuates the intimacy of Brown’s sax. And It’s that smooth, seductive sax that cajoles, that entices and takes the lucky listener to a wide-open ride that recalls the musical legends like Stan Getz and Paul Desmond.
As if to bely its title ROUGH SAX is a decidedly mellow trip-----there’s nothing rough about it. But the CD is never boring. It’s introspective, romantic at times, sassy at other times, and even delivers the high squeals just when you want them. ROUGH SAX even manages to surprise, with relentlessness of the drum driven “Rumble” and the ‘60s-era coolness of “I Heard it Before”.
Just because the tracks have song titles, its easy to assume that Brown and company went into the studio and recorded straightforward performances of songs.
Recognizing Brown’s intuitive strengths, Evans opted for the open-ended improvisational form.
In this setting Christopher Brown can paint his musical canvas without worrying about coloring outside the lines. ROUGH SAX succeeds as a result on that great decision.