Ari Brown | Live at the Green Mill

Delmark DVD 1577 • www.delmark.com

In this set recorded live at Chicago's Green Mill, saxophonist Ari Brown and his bandmates offer a direct and intense approach to making music.

Stylistically, Ari's tenor and soprano combine an AACM awareness with Coltrane's modal searches ("Waltz of The Prophets" and "Shorter's Vibes").

While the rhythm section — Kirk Brown, piano, Yosef Ben Israel, bass, Avreeayl Ra, drums, and Dr. Cuz, percussion — is, like Brown, clearly focused on playing these mostly post-Bop tunes with feeling, good sound, and clear intentions.

Of course, each player has their own distinctive style, so the camera shots of Kirk Brown's hands thinking on the keyboard, close-ups of inventive trumpeter Whitted's fingers, or a top-down shot of Avreeayl Ra and his sticks striking his half-circle of cymbals — it's surely what fans want to see. It puts you right there.

More importantly, this recording delivers the underlying message in Ari's music — life is about doing and feeling and being positive. Occasionally a brief rasp appeared in the mellow lines of his tenor, but this was to be welcomed — because Ari was playing himself.

Otherwise, Pharez Whitted's emotions run vivid in his group and solo trumpet playing; bassist Yosef Ben Israel beautifully makes his notes count; and Avreeayl Ra's drum energy and sincerity plays well with the varied experience of percussionist Dr. Cuz.

The 'Special Features' section of this DVD is a nice bonus. Ari's autobiographical commentary and stories of his musical education are charming and interesting. Also, it was interesting to learn that for over 22 years, off and on, Ari played with Elvin Jones and got to tour the world and have "a beautiful learning experience."

by David Fujino July 2008

The tracks
1. Richard's Tune
2. One for Skip
3. Waltz of the Prophets
4. Shorter's Vibes
5. Two Gun V
6. Kylie's Lullaby
7. Evod
The musicians
Ari Brown — tenor sax, soprano sax, flute
Pharez Whitted — trumpet (1,3.5.7)
Kirk Brown — piano
Yosef Ben Israel — bass
Avreeayl Ra — drums
Dr. Cuz — percussion (excerpt 2,3)
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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