Andy Brown


May/June 2016

Here are some fun gigs I have coming up over the next few weeks:

Wednesday May 18th I'll be doing a two guitar quartet with special guest guitarist Mike Allemana subbing for pianist Jeremy Kahn that night. We've picked out some cool tunes, and it's always a treat to play with Mike.

Wednesday May 25th trombone great Russ Phillips will be with us at Andy's, again subbing for Jeremy Kahn.

On May 28th and 29th, I'll be at the Washington Platform in Cincinnati with the terrific vocalist Petra van Nuis and some great Cincinnati jazz musicians!

I'm very happy to be featured on jazz mandolin master Don Stiernberg's new CD "Good Numbers." This recording features Don's working trio of myself on guitar and Jim Cox on bass. We'll be performing at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn Thursday May 19th and at SPACE in Evanston on Sunday June 5th.

I'll be playing with my favorite jazz organist Chris Foreman on a couple of Sundays at the Green Mill. We'll be there for the late show on May 22nd and June 26 with drummer Mike Schlick.

My new Delmark Records CD "Direct Call" has continued to get some really nice reviews. Check out this one from Michael Steinman's Jazz Lives:

Andy Brown, Swing Master: "Appel Direct"

Theoretically, I should not be able to write that the Chicago-based guitarist Andy Brown is in fact a Swing Master. He is certainly too young and too healthy. He's been on a skateboard. He might even lack the maladjustments so common to Great Artists. But these things have not limited his creative magic.

There's more delightful evidence at hand, a new Delmark CD, DIRECT CALL, which I would gladly dub SWING MASTERPIECE OF 2016.

The three other masters here are Phil Gratteau, drums; Jeremy Kahn, piano; Joe Policastro, string bass. Like Andy, they know what and where it is.

The session was recorded in Chicago last September - beautiful sound thanks to my non-relative Scott Steinman: THE JEEP IS JUMPIN / PRISONER OF LOVE / EL CAJON / FUNK IN DEEP FREEZE / APPEL DIRECT / RELAXING / ONE MORNING IN MAY / CATCH ME / ELA E CARIOCA / FREAK OF THE WEEK.

In a crime novel whose name I forget, someone said, less politely, "Everybody can talk but not everyone has things to say." The art of swing improvisation is not something learned from the Real Book or from copying gestures to fool an audience. (Ending a performance of SHINY STOCKINGS with three Basie chords doesn't make it Basie.)

Compelling, light-hearted, authentic swing and melodic improvisations are a matter of years of study - usually on the job. The members of this quartet, although not Elders chronologically, are wise players whose art comes from playing, listening, thinking, feeling.

Some like their jazz to be startling, even abrupt. It has to be "innovative" and "adventurous." I wouldn't deny them such pleasures, but music that shouts BOO! in my ear is not for me. I warm to jazz that delicately balances the familiar and the surprising, with comfort the result, as if I were a passenger with a driver I wholly trusted. This comfort is felt immediately in the opening choruses of APPEL DIRECT. "These players know how to sustain feeling and build on it; they won't let me down or disappoint me."

Although the CD is in no way a repertory project, I could settle into the joy of experiencing and anticipating right from the start: the same way I feel when (let us say) I heard Teddy Wilson, Milt Hinton, and Jo Jones play an eight-bar introduction. Basie and Charlie Christian. Jimmie Rowles, Jim Hall, Leroy Vinnegar, Frank Butler. You can supply your own names. Mastery and ease.

I urge you to check out the CD, and, even better, share the music with others . . . or do that most radical thing, hear this quartet in a Chicago club or elsewhere. I believe that you will feel uplifted, rewarded - by the sweetness of PRISONER OF LOVE, the rare energy of CATCH ME and the other swinging tunes. It's a beautifully integrated quartet, with each player generously giving of himself to the band. And now I will play APPEL DIRECT again.

Also, my weekly steady gigs continue:

Sundays - Duo with Petra van Nuis at Pete Millers Evanston
NOTE: Note: I won't be there June 5

Tuesdays - Solo guitar at Broadway Cellars

Wednesdays - Andy Brown Quartet at Andy's Jazz Club

Thursdays - Solo guitar behind the bar at the Green Mill

All times, addresses, website info, phone numbers, as well as other gigs can be found on the Schedule page of this website.

Andy Brown