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Anthony Brown: CD Reviews

“Masscult, Midcult, and Multiculti: Rhapsody in Blue still packs a thrill, and it’s still open to interpretation”
— Francis Davis, in The Village Voice (April 14, 2006) (read the article)

“[This] is what Gershwin would have intended, had he been available to recast Rhapsody to the tune of today’s New York...”
÷ Robert Doerschuk, in Downbeat magazine (April, 2006)

This Month’s Featured CD Review:
Anthony Brown’s Orchestra, Rhapsodies (Water Baby)
Reviewed by Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene

One of the hits of the 2004 Monterey Jazz Orchestra was a performance by an unusual orchestra led by drummer Anthony Brown that mixed together both Western and Asian instruments. Their version of “Rhapsody In Blue” was quite unique and earned a standing ovation.

Rhapsodies has the 19-minute version of “Rhapsody In Blue” plus reworkings of Charles Mingus’ “Self Portrait In Three Colors,” “Come Sunday,” a brief “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” “Tang” (from Duke Ellington’s Afro-Eurasian Eclipse) plus four of Brown’s colorful originals (including a tribute to Lester Bowie called “Bread & Bowie”).  While the repertoire is wide-ranging, look at the instrumentation: two trumpets, two trombonists (one doubling on tuba), four saxophonists (who also play such reeds as shakuhachi, contra bassoon and contra alto clarinet), a bass clarinetist doubling on steel drums, guitar, Mark Izu on bass and the Chinese mouth organ, percussion, Hong Wong on Chinese mouth organ, dizi, erhu and suona, Yangqin Zhao on a Chinese hammered dulcimer, Gahgqin Zhao on Chinese harp zither and also Chinese hammered dulcimer, and drummer Brown.  David Murray also guests on two songs on tenor and bass clarinet.

The unique Rhapsodies, one of the most colorful recordings to be released in 2005, features a new type of jazz big band. Highly recommended. (February 2006)


“Local Jazz Greats” by Andrew Gilbert
San Francisco Chronicle Datebook, January 1, 2006

“Best CDs of 2003”
Downbeat, January 2004

“Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra: Monk’s Moods” by Fred Bouchard
Downbeat, August 2003

“Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra: Monk’s Mood” by Loren Schoenberg
— NPR Jazz CD Review, November 18, 2001

“Traditions: Monk Gone Asian” by Neil Tesser
JAZZIZ, October 2001

“Monk’s Mood”
International Association of Jazz Record Collectors (IAJRC) Journal, Fall 2001, Vol. 34, No. 4, 

“Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra: Monk’s Moods” by Graham Lock
JazzTimes, July/August 2001

 “Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra: Far East Suite” and “Asian American Jazz Orchestra: Big Bands Behind Barbed Wire” by Bill Shoemaker
JazzTimes, January/February 2000

“Far East Suite”
Cadence, January 2000

“CD of the Week: Asian American Orchestra: The Far East Suite” by Randy McElligott
JAZZIZ, July 1999

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Recorded live at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland, CA, the latest CD by the Asian American Orchestra showcases North Indian instrumentalists and African percussion performed by Kenneth Nash in new arrangements of classic Coltrane compositions including "Living Space," "Olé," "Liberia," "Dahomey Dance," and the extended works, "India" and "Africa."

Purchase this CD online

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