There is nothing more moving and historically insightful as the life and journey of a jazz musician. It seems like a forgettable genre for a young adult in this generation, but having a moment to listen to and be inspired opened up a different world of music. At the end of October 2012, the Live Music Movement Foundation presented its first Musical Experience Salon with jazz trombonist Garnett Brown—reflecting on his early career and his many accomplishments.
A composer, arranger, and award-winning musician, Brown discussed his musical legacy with professors and musicians Leslie Drayton and Keith Fiddmont. Touching on his early career, Drayton began the conversation reminiscing about the time he met Brown in 1974 during a Marvin Gaye engagement.
Graduating from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Brown discussed memories and struggles of a young musician and the limitations of being a teen. Brown has contributed to over 250 albums with artists such as The Crusaders, Herbie Hancock, and Lionel Hampton. Some of the early music he created has musical connections to educator Matthew Garrett, The Newborn Family, Booker Little, Frank Strozier, George Coleman, Harold Mabern Jr., and Charles Lloyd.
Some of the remarkable songs include a phenomenal solo on “Frank’s Tune” from Jack Wilson’s 1967 album “Easterly Winds”. “Garnett’s approach to the trombone was different from any other trombonist at the time,” Drayton said of Brown when “Frank’s Tune” was played. The song highlighted his ability and mastery on the trombone—reinforcing the funky mood found throughout the tune. The audience at the event seemed very thrilled to be part of Brown’s discussion and listening to a very rhythmic, memorable tune.
Other musical examples included “Crosswinds”, “Savannah the Serene”, and “Darts”, a Herbie Hancock composition, arrangement by Brown. Essentially, “Darts” was one of the many tunes that Drayton found exceptional among many that he had to include in the musical experience. Right from the beginning the audience was intrigued by the tune’s lustrous mystic and low tones. Brown’s most memorable film-scoring theme includes the very recognizable “Mama Yo Quiero” and “Love Theme” from the 1989 film Harlem Nights. In 1984, Brown received the Jazz Pioneers Award, the Contribution to American Music Recognition Award in 1990, among several other awards and nominations.
At the end of the event, the audience was able to ask Brown questions and compliment his work. The two-hour event wasn’t long enough to discuss all of the numerous pieces that Brown has contributed. Brown mentioned that one of his dream projects would be to perform the Carnegie Hall Miles Davis Tribute again with all the wonderful musicians that he worked with on that project.
The afternoon proved that Brown has a way to be musically diverse with his instrument and all that he has created is evidence that he is truly a brilliant musician. The Musical Experience Salon is a new and exciting way to appreciate the talents of exceptional musicians.