Andy Brown


July 2016

Friday July 15th I'll be playing at the Northbrook Public Library with my trio as part of their Jazz/Blues Salon Concert series. I'll be playing with Jake Vinsel on bass and Mike Schlick on drums. These are the guys I recorded my first album with nine years ago (Trio and Solo). I'm really looking forward to playing with them!

Speaking of CDs, my new Delmark records release "Direct Call" has been getting some really nice reviews.

Jazztimes Magazine review of Direct Call:

Thoroughly worthy of its Johnny Hodges/Duke Ellington pedigree, in buoyantly swinging ways, "The Jeep Is Jumpin'" kicks off guitarist Andy Brown's third recording for Delmark. There are several uptempo delights to come, enlivened by Brown's fluid yet unfussy virtuosity. Swift propulsion and crisp breaks, courtesy of pianist Jeremy Kahn, bassist Joe Policastro and drummer Phil Gratteau, complete the picture.

In fact, throughout this session the supporting players provide a lot more than routine accompaniments, as a brisk reprise of Johnny Mandel's charmer "El Cajon" illustrates. A rhythmically nimble performance laced with quick exchanges, it ultimately proves a splendid showcase for Kahn. If the quartet sounds like a working band, aware of its strengths and clearly practiced at the art of showcasing them, well, a lot of jazz fans in Chicago would be happy to confirm your suspicions.

Early on, though, Brown quietly reveals his gift for reviving ballads with lyrical warmth and blues-tinted lyricism while reprising "Prisoner of Love," with no small assist from Policastro on arco bass. Familiar to admirers of his previous recordings, Brown's soulfully tender touch is also evident during other romantic interludes, notably Antonio carlos Jobim's insinuating "Ela e Carioca."

Still, it's not surprising that Brown chose Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhardt's "Appel Direct (Direct Call)" as the album's title track, since he takes such obvious delight in its zigzagging lines, leaping intervals, Mile Davis-inspired modulation and abundant verve, to say nothing of Gratteau's brush-stoke artistry. Appel encore!

Vintage Guitar Magazine review of Direct Call:

Not every jazz guitarist who plays solo can also blow in a group context, and vice versa. Some adept at both include Tuck Andress, Joe Pass, Johnny Smith, George Van Eps, and Earl Klugh. Martin Taylor is arguably at the top of the solo heap, although he's shown equally impressive facility backing Stephane Grappelli and on ensemble outings like Freternity.

Andy Brown joined the league with 2014's Soloist. His follow-up, Direct Call, features his working quartet that regularly plays Andy's Jazz Club in Chicago. From the opening licks in Johnny Hodges' "The Jeep Is Jumpin'," it appears that a trek to Chi-Town might be in order.

Whether it's a Latin groove like Johnny Mandel's "El Cajon" or the Blue Note feel of Hank Mobley's "Funk In The Deep Freeze," Brown is right at home, as is pianist Jeremy Kahn, who merits ample solo space.

The album's title is the translation of the uptempo Django Reinhardt-Stephane Grappelli tune, "Appel Direct." With its angular melody and half-step construction, it's the album's most modern-sounding number, despite being almost 80 years old. Following it with "Relaxing" is a nice touch. The Jimmie Guinn composition, which appeared on Hank Garland's 1961 classic, Jazz Winds From A New Direction, is reminiscent of Neal Hefti's "Lil Darlin'."

Throughout, Brown's playing is inventive and melodic (not merely a chops display, even on Pass' speed-demon "Catch Me"), and he extracts a deep, round tone with plenty of definition from his '65 Gibson Tal Farlow model.

I was also surprised and happy to learn I made the Downbeat Magazine Critic's Poll "Rising Star-Guitar" category in the August 2016 issue. I slid in there at number 17...

A few save-the-dates:

Tuesday August 9th I'll be doing a tribute to the father of the electric guitar Charlie Christian at the Jazz Showcase sponsored by WDCB. Charlie would have been 100 this month, and I've put together a great band (Eric Schneider-reeds, Jeremy Kahn-piano, Jake Vinsel-bass, and Bob Rummage-drums) to celebrate his music and those who were influenced by him.

Friday and Saturday September 23 and 24 I'll be at the Green Mill with my friend and fellow guitarist Howard Alden with our quartet. We took a year off from our annual gig there and a lot of people have been asking when we'll be back.

October 21-23 I'll be at the Roswell Jazz Festival in New Mexico. They've assembled a killer lineup of some of my favorite musicians in the world and I'm so happy to be invited!

Also, my weekly steady gigs continue:

Sundays - Duo with Petra van Nuis at Pete Millers Evanston
NOTE: guitarist Andy Pratt will be there with me instead of Petra on July 17

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 my schedule page.

Andy Brown