Tag Archives: Lebowski’s


Nathan Brown Trio

Nathan Brown Trio (Image supplied)


Nathan Brown album launch tour

I doubt that many musicians — other than perhaps Julien Wilson — would want to bother with the cut and thrust of a life in Australian politics. So dual citizenship is pretty much irrelevant, except that most musicians do have a finely tuned sense of justice and a good grasp of what’s important in life (in other words, not constitutional collywobbles).

But when a New Zealand acoustic bass player ends up releasing his first album while living in New York, that’s a kind of dualistic outcome is it not? Drawing a long bow? Well, maybe.

I’ll be frank in saying that this post is hasty and far too late in coming. I have had a few too many things on my plate lately — including a bee hive swarming — to catch up with everything that needs doing.

Many jazz fans will be journeying north or south to Wangaratta today (Friday) to catch the delights of the annual feast of music at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues. But for those who can’t make that, consider heading out to hear Nathan Brown at work.

Upright bass player Nathan Brown is in Australia on a tour to mark the release of his new album This Is the Moment (Gut Strings Records). He lives in New York City and leads a guitar/bass/drums trio.

His tour through New Zealand and Australia is being promoted by Mark Lockett and, after beginning on October 21 in Queenstown, has proceeded to Lazybones Lounge in Sydney for a gig last night (Thursday, November 2).

Tonight the venue is Doo-bop Jazz Club in Brisbane, followed by that most welcoming and wonderful venue The Jazzlab on November 4. A gig at Lebowskis follows on November 5, followed by a final night at the Wheatsheaf Hotel for Creative Original Music Adelaide.

The Jazzlab gig is an early one — doors open 6pm. And after Nathan Brown’s performance the Kari Ikonen Trio comes on at 9pm.

Nathan Brown has performed as a side man with an array of world class musicians including Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Randy Brecker, Carl Allen, John Faddis, Wycliffe Gordon, Lewis Nash, and Paquito D’Rivera. He also performs regularly with New York based Australian and New Zealand musicians such as Mark Lockett, Matt Baker, Adrian Cunningham, J.C. Stylles and Graeme Norris.

This Is The Moment is Nathan’s first attempt at crossing the bridge between side man and front man. For Nathan the album offers a chance to step in the spotlight and become recognised as a bandleader and composer in his own right.

For years Nathan’s New York trio (featuring Felix Lemerle on guitar and Peter Traunmuller on drums) have been performing a weekly residency at Cleopatra’s Needle. Through these weekly shows, the trio’s style began to mature. Nathan is heavily influenced by legendary bassist Paul Chambers, Felix by the sound of guitarist Grant Green, and Peter by the drumming style of Philly Joe Jones.

When Nathan Brown was preparing for this recording project he was wondering what it would be like if these masters, — Paul Chambers / Grant Green / Philly Joe Jones — were alive today. What if they played in a trio together? What songs, influenced by today’s music, would they perform? These questions guided the writing and arranging of  original music for this album and the selecting of cover songs.

Here are some assessments of the Nathan Brown Trio performing on This Is The Moment:

“The Brown crew knows how to serve it up just right. With cool school bopping leading the way, this is a cat that easily convinces you to stay out late on school nights to dig.” – Chris Spector at Midwest Records

“This trio, led by bassist Nathan Brown, demonstrates a commitment to the old values of ‘50s Modern Jazz. The Aesthetic is remarkably well-dialed in.” – Fritz Balwit at Audiophile Audition

Nathan Brown “lays down quarter notes as fat as half-dollars” – Fritz Balwit at Audiophile Audition

“With so much new and timeless instrumental jazz music on hand, the real attraction here is the spirited musical interplay between Brown, Lemerle and Traunmueller. Jazz fans will be in for an excellent sonic surprise with this fine new CD by The Nathan Brown Trio.” – Robert Steven Silverstein at Music Web Express 3000

“This is a swingin’, fun recording that will have you off your feet doing your happy dance! The originals are very melodic and accessible to a wide audience. The standards are given a fresh sound (Favorite: This is the Moment.) while relentlessly swinging all the way through. This trio has it together! 5 Stars for Mainstream radio!” – John Zimbrick, PhD., Producer and Host of Jazz Cornucopia on WBAA, Purdue Public Radio, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Melbourne Jazz Fringe 2009 — Day 4

Andrea Keller with Geoff Hughes

After Big Arse Sunday I needed to recover. That meant deciding to leave the VU Showcase at Bennetts Lane and Musica @ La Mama to others and slipping quietly through the loudly squeaking door at Lebowski’s — Cafe 303 in High St, Northcote. In a relaxed atmosphere, attentive patrons were listening to Keller on Nord and Hughes on guitar, comfortably set up in the window. As bicycles, trams and cars zipped past outside, we were in a private world.

Hughes Keller

PBS broadcaster Kenny Weir, well known in jazz circles before he chose to confine his musical tastes to dead people, once allegedly described John McBeath’s jazz reviews as “laundry lists”. That’s another story. But I may commit that sin by including the Keller – Hughes set list. Before I arrived they played Jim’s Favourite (Keller), Same Time Same Face (Hughes). The Rain Outside (Keller), Cry From Far Away (Hughes) and Broken (Keller) completed the set. After the break they played Galumping Round the Nation (Keller), Chill Chaser (Hughes), an excerpt of Hand Me Downs (Keller) as a Nord solo, Small Comforts (Keller), Waking Dream (Hughes) and The Incredible View (Keller). Phew! Now to turn on the washing machine.

Andrea Keller

Both sets were totally engrossing — peaceful and introspective music to become totally absorbed in, as cares and frustrations and clutter of the world outside faded into insignificance. This was just what I needed after the seven-hour stint at Big Arse Sunday.

During Chill Chaser I mused on the sounds being produced by guitar and Nord. The contrast between them is not that great, so that they often produce parallel or complementary sounds, with the Nord often sounding fuzzier and more full, but not markedly so. Waking Dream began with a guitar solo that had a classical feel and then included interludes in which Hughes and Keller played independently yet always responsive to the other. It occurred to me then that both Nord and guitar can puddle in the mud of chords or go on flights of celebration or feel the joy in single, sustained notes. And each musician appeared to be utterly submerged in the piece.

Geoff Hughes

Hughes followed a slow Keller introduction in Small Comforts with some deeper, bluesy riffs, and in The Incredible View there seemed to be quite a bit of dissonance.

There was a simplicity to this gig — just two players doing their thing without the complications of bass or drums. It never ceases to be a source of wonder to me that this interaction and invention can be accomplished with such apparent ease and with such a satisfying result. In all the time that Keller and Hughes played Cafe 303 on the night, at no time did interest flag. And it seemed to be good for the soul.

Perhaps it is time for Geoff Hughes to fire up his studio and invite over Andrea Keller for a recording session.

Here are some more images:

Andrea Keller

Geoff Hughes

Andrea Keller