1. Come Live With Me
2. Quiet Time
3. And The Willow Weeps
4. When Summer Comes
5. A Lullaby Of Itsugo Village
6. You Don't Know What Love Is
7. When October Goes
8. Theme For Monterey
10. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
John V. Brown – Bass
Ray Codrington – Trumpet, flugelhorn
Brian Miller – Saxes
Gabe Evens – Piano
Adonis Rose – Drums
“What is life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”. This seems to be the ethos behind bassist John Brown’s latest album, which consists
entirely of slowish numbers. One might think that this would become boring, but the quintet pours so much feeling into its playing that the music never
becomes dull. John Brown describes his intention as “to move people to stand still, to stop to find private space to experience quiet time both alone and
with someone”. This is a brave aim but it succeeds admirably.
Saxist Brian Miller emotionally states the melody of the opening Come Live With Me, backed by Gabe Evens’ decorative piano. John Brown’s firm,
deep notes underpin the whole track.
John Brown composed the title-track, which features a quavering flugel solo from Ray Codrington and a steadier sax solo from Brian Miller, before the two
instruments blend in optimistic harmony. Gabe Evens’ economical piano solo adds to the tranquillity.
The intensity increases at the start of Lonnie Smith’s And The Willow Weeps but the theme statement from the tenor sax calms things down for a
while and the tempo remains stately, albeit sometimes tormented – abetted by the outspoken drums.
Oscar Peterson’s When Summer Comes is a lyrical piece which is delivered with sensitivity by the group. John Brown adds a resonant bass solo.
Elvin Jones wrote A Lullaby of Itsugo Village, which was based on a Japanese folk tune. Its gentle waltz encourages meditation, especially during
Gabe Evens’ pensive piano solo. You Don’t Know What Love Is is a jazz standard which is given full treatment by tenor sax and bass. When October Goes features Ray Codrington (still sounding somewhat quavery) and Brian Miller.
Gerald Wilson’s Theme For Monterey is yet another slow, thoughtful number. Brian Miller switches to the alto sax for Lost, a composition
by pianist Gabe Evens, who is also featured on this poignant piece. Finally, I am glad to find Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight here, as James
Taylor’s beautiful song deserves to become a jazz standard.
The idea of an album comprising nothing but ballads may seem unappealing – but it is the very opposite once you get to know it.