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The Big Picture by Rob Brown Quartet

A release from Marge Records based in Paris gives us THE BIG PICTURE by the Rob Brown Quartet. The quartet is made up of Rob Brown on alto and flute, Roy Campbell on pocket trumpet, trumpet and flugelhorn, William Parker on bass and Hamid Drake on drums.

Brown composed all the pieces for this recording. The pieces have a thematic consistent statement, the evolution of which can be determined by careful listening. From the first to the last track are steps from "A" to "B", which as a matter of fact, do not make up a straight line....musically or conceptually.

Brown plays his alto with a straightforwardness that manifests confidence in his improvisation and steadfast belief in the melodic aggregate of notes out of which the improvisation moves. Even when he puts down the alto and picks up the flute, the move fits. Brown is extremely adept at playing both the alto and the flute. His expertise on the alto is securely evident. The range he executes in the ascent and descent of notes in an overlapping fashion invigorates his ability to scatter coherently single phrases on the horn which decorate the core of his themes. The flute sets the theme in one of Brown's compositions which includes the flugelhorn as a heavier underpinning to the lightness of the flute.

Campbell intersects the alto lines with both trumpet and pocket trumpet lines, often to coincide in unison and then to offshoot in individual sets of phrases. Campbell can valve the hell out of his horn, especially when he plays the pocket trumpet. The tune is exposed tightly, in control, no slips. At times, however, when he plays the trumpet, it seems that the sound is going slightly astray but is brought back in by the rhythmic content of the group’s resolutions and finishes.

The rhythm section speaks with nothing other than precision. All of a sudden the bass or the drums rise to the top in solo forms but most of all are the strong support and glue for the mass of the music. Parker and Drake seem to be almost one word that equals the pulse, the skeleton, the foundation of a group. In this group, they certainly act that way. Yet, they never overwhelm the main process which is the curvature of the melodies and the charge of the improvisation.

This recording proves that The Big Picture can only be seen when the parts have been experienced. These parts allow a mirror vision of oneself as being small in comparison to the whole. When this concept is realized and internalized, what is done with it becomes a manifestation of a purpose in life...a calling. Playing music is the calling of this quartet. Rob Brown brings it together for this chance.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rob Brown Quartet
  • CD Title: The Big Picture
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Marge
  • Musicians: Rob Brown (alto saxophone and flute), Roy Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn and pocket trumpet), William Parker (bass), Hamid Drake (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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