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.
THE CYCLE OF LOVE QUOTES:
"Brown's next stop was New York City, where he produced, arranged and performed with acts such as The Roots and P. Diddy. He immersed himself in hip-hop and then brought what he learned back to jazz" — NPR, Morning Edition
"Chicago, Illinois native Maurice Brown is one of the most important musicians to look out for during this decade. The trumpeter/composer/producer has made waves in the record industry and he’s barely 30 years old." — The Pace Report
"...Maurice “Mobetta” Brown is one of the best horn players on the planet. " — allhiphop.com
"Maurice Brown has somehow found a way to seamlessly fuse the instrumentation and attitude of a hard-bop combo with R&B romanticism, urban grooves, and hip hop energy. " — CD BABY
"Brown's new record "The Cycle Of Love" is a powerhouse, a record that should change the way people listen to jazz, while converting those that don't." — Huffington Post
"Essentially, Brown and his quintet have found the place where jazz, soul and pop converge, shortchanging none of these languages but drawing eloquently from each of them." — Chicago Tribune
" A crossover disc in the best sense of the word, The Cycle of Love contains 10 simply stated, deeply soulful original tunes that touch back to ‘70s R&B while taking the pulse of today’s streets. The catchy pop-songs hooks and hip-hop-inflected beats seem to call out for lyrics, either written or freestyle, but left as instrumentals their subtleties are allowed to shine." — JazzTimes
A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz - Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2010
Trumpeter Maurice Brown came up in jazz in Chicago; he found his way to New Orleans for a while, including through Hurricane Katrina, and he now lives in New York. Judging from his second album, The Cycle Of Love, he seems to have picked up various lessons along the way: earthy intelligence, urbane slickness, how to party. The global aesthetic of hip-hop is also present -- Brown works with plenty of R&B and rap artists -- and his band, especially the tenor saxophonist Derek Douget, has a certain bounce (and a few skittering rimshots) in its step. But there's also a clear compositional savvy in the 10 tunes here; it attests to a jazz pedigree. The result is a jazz record that feels like it's from musicians of the hip-hop generation -- and compromises neither genre. by PATRICK JARENWATTANANON
HUFFINGTON POST Best Albums of 2010. No Really! MAURICE BROWN - THE CYCLE OF LOVE
From Chicago to New Orleans to N.Y.C., this young genius composer and master of the trumpet has honed his craft with legends of the jazz world we only dream of seeing in our lifetime. Maurice Brown has made a record that showcases elements of all of his experiences.
It's not easy keeping the jazz purists happy, while catching the ears of those who spend much of their time shunning the genre. But thanks to Brown's knack for melody and a band that is not afraid to lay back or show their chops when necessary, "The Cycle Of Love" is one of the most musically appealing records of the year.
Songs like "Misunderstood" and "Merry Go Round" have melodies that will stick with you for days. "Fly By Night" and "Daydreams" set a groove that will no doubt evoke late 60's Miles. And "Lovely," will break your heart. Mr. Brown has written a standard there. "The Cycle Of Love" is the stand-out jazz release of 2010. by Sal Nunziato