to broody to gospel) 1:35
Sky was Evergreen
Wink, at that
ballad to West African) 1:57
suite of short movements) 2:28
sweet, gently polyrhythmic) 2:27
Smolens - piano, percussion, vocal percussion,
Sheldon Brown - soprano and tenor saxophones,
clarinet, silver and wood flutes
Sheldon was in my "Kriya Sextet" (now an Octet)
from 1981 to 1991, we would always do a ballad or waltz
to change the pace in the first set, and a free improvisation
in the second. My producer at the time said to me after
a Yoshi's performance, "You know, your duos with Sheldon
don't get the loudest applause, just the longest. Think
about it." ("Yoshi's Jazz House is the West Coast's
premiere jazz concert venue.) Well, I certainly did. In
1997 we did our first studio recording of all free improvisations
called "Train to Tourmaline." (Actually, two of
the improvisations from Yoshi's appear on this CD.)
The truth is that our "free improvisations" often
sound more like tunes than one might expect. I think my
exposure to and study with Art Lande was a huge influence,
in addition to Sheldon and I both being experienced jazz
composers who embrace many musical influences, some from
different cultures. Basically, use structure to help tell
stories for the listener.
For us, free improvisation is literally "free"
to be whatever the moment calls for, no matter how inside
or outside, familiar or unpredictable. (My exposure to and
study with Art Lande was a huge influence.) One fan described
us as "a couple who just kept thinking the same thoughts,
nearly at the same time."
CHOICE REVIEW OF
THE MICHAEL SMOLENS/SHELDON BROWN DUO
"Rooted in the modern jazz of
the late '60s, their music boasts the eclecticism and expansiveness
of the spacious ECM sound of the '70s, but their classical
as well as West African, Irish, and North Indian influences
put their freely improvised duets in original realms beyond
any identifiable genres."
Derk Richardson "Critics' Choice" from East
OF "TRAIN TO TOURMALINE"
musicians have an exceptional command of their instruments...
patient, thoughtful, and inventive...a duo of great promise."
Jason Bivins, Cadence Magazine
music has a warm spirit and an appealing sense of lyricism
definitely worth looking for."
Stewart Kremsky, IAJRC Journal
compositions copyright ©2002 Michael Smolens and Sheldon
©2002 Second Sight Music.