Ari Brown began his musical career playing blues and R&B. But in 1971 when he joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), he turned his focus to jazz. During the 1970’s, Ari played with jazz giants such as Rufus Reid (who incidentally lived in Earma Thompson’s rental apartment before moving to New York), McCoy Tyner, and Sonny Stitt. In the 1980’s, he played with Lester Bowie, Von Freeman, Anthony Braxton, and Elvin Jones. In 1989, Brown became a member in Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio. Over the past thirty years he has become a versatile player who backs up many of Chicago's avant-garde musicians. Recently he has been playing with Pharoah Sanders, and he made two recordings as a bandleader in 1995 and 2000. Ari Brown blows with a strong, rich tone, and on this disc he growls on the blues “Next Time You See Me”, and his introduction to “In A Sentimental Mood” is heartfelt.
John Brumbach has played with many Chicago blues and R&B legends like Sunnyland Slim (Heavy Timbre SR-5002), Chaka Khan, and Otis Clay. In 1972, he teamed up with Chaka’s sister Taka and moved to Los Angeles. While on the West Coast, he played with Rufus, the Gap Band, Jermaine Jackson, and others. Since moving back to Chicago in 1980, John plays regularly with Chicago’s best jazz/blues musicians at clubs such as Katerina’s and Andy’s. John has recorded as a sideman on three releases by The Sirens Records: Erwin Helfer’s “I’m Not Hungry But I Like To Eat – Blues!” (SR-5001), Earma Thompson’s “Just In Time” (SR-5008), and Katherine Davis’ “Rock This House – Live!” (SR-5013). John brings excitement and energy on all three discs. His versatility ranges from the traditional Jelly Roll Morton tune “Sweet Substitute” with Helfer, to straight ahead bebop on Gene Ammons’ “Geru” with Thompson, to the Chicago blues sound of Jimmy Rogers on “Rock This House” with Davis. On this disc, Brumbach’s playing is sharp, exciting and full of steam; listen carefully and enjoy his solos – especially on “Madam Queen”.
Earma Thompson attended the DuSable High School in Chicago, where she was classmates and friends with Dorothy Donegan, Clifford Jordon, Von Freeman, and many other musicians who created the vibrant Chicago jazz scene. Through her marriage to drummer Marshall Thompson, Earma befriended and often accompanied the dominant Chicago jazz musician’s of the past fifty years (it’s fitting to hear Earma play Gene Ammons’ “Madam Queen” because of the Thompson’s friendship with Ammons). Despite being recognized by other musicians, Earma’s graciousness and humility have kept her from achieving the wider recognition she deserves (although she did receive a 2005 award from Jazz Unites for her contribution to jazz). She plays in full swing and her soul and blues can always be heard. Earma made her debut solo recording “Just in Time” (SR-5008) for The Sirens Records in 2004, and Marian McPartland interviewed and praised Earma and this disc on National Public Radio’s “Piano Jazz”.