Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"The cover of this recording says, "Paquito D'Rivera Presents" in small type, "Alex Brown, Pianist" in headline type. That's all I needed to throw open the jewel box and slide it into the CD player. First, if D'Rivera is stepping out, it must be good. Second, Brown's not a total newcomer. He's been developing a name as a sideman with the likes of Jon Faddis, Jane Bunnett, Slide Hampton and D'Rivera. I was not disappointed. Pianist is a great collection of very hip, very modern, Latin jazz, and Brown can play. The first tune, "Prologue," pulls you in with smokin' piano and marimba work by Brown and Warren Wolf, respectively, as well as Pedro Martinez on percussion, Eric Doob on drums and Ben Williams on bass. "The Wrong Jacket" has some nice touches with D'Rivera on sax and Vivek Patel on flugelhorn before Brown digs in to show off his chops. "Lamentos" is a sweet choro by the Brazilian composer Pixinguinha. In the liner notes, Brown points out that the choro is a precursor to the samba. Pianist also includes a tribute to Chick Corea, called "Elektric," and an interesting take on "It's Just One Of Those Things." It's a really fine first record that leaves you wanting more." -DownBeat
Personnel: Alex Brown (piano); Pedro Martinez (vocals, percussion); Paquito d'Rivera (clarinet, alto saxophone); Vivek Patel (flugelhorn); Warren Wolf (marimba); Eric Doob (drums).
Audio Mixer: Manfred Knoop.
Liner Note Authors: Alex Brown ; Paquito d'Rivera.
Recording information: Knoop Studio (12/09/2009-12/10/2009).
Photographer: Mia Winston.
New England Conservatory-trained acoustic jazz pianist Alex Brown crosses over into many forms of music on this, his debut album. Supported by mentor Paquito d'Rivera (on the Paquito subsidiary of the Sunnyside label), Brown weaves Latin jazz on occasion within a contemporary framework, reminiscent of his clear idol, Chick Corea. Brown is extremely talented, cramming many notes into each measure during the circular "Prologue" and the distinctly bouncy, quirky Corea-like "Elektric." Brazilian choro, neo-bop, ballads, and even churning true montuno-flavored music are here in different formats from trio to sextet, at times showcasing d'Rivera's alto sax, rising-star vibist Warren Wolf, or Vivek Patel on flügelhorn. Alex Brown's initial foray into the jazz world is an impressive one, with a high ceiling for things to come. ~ Michael G. Nastos