Browns in Blue [B&N Exclusive Version]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Browns in Blues is the title of the 5 Browns third disc, but don't expect that the family of five pianists has put together an all-jazz album. This is their "chillout" album, definitely something of an eclectic mixture of works -- classical and jazz, old and new -- that somehow still manages to hang together enough to give off an overall laid-back, go-with-the-flow kind of vibe. As with their other albums, each of the Browns heard in one or two solos as well as in two-piano, five-piano, and piano six-hands pieces. There are arrangements by Greg Anderson tailored to the Browns, which add to the already classic melodies of Rachmaninov's "18th Variation from the Rhapsody on a...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Browns in Blues is the title of the 5 Browns third disc, but don't expect that the family of five pianists has put together an all-jazz album. This is their "chillout" album, definitely something of an eclectic mixture of works -- classical and jazz, old and new -- that somehow still manages to hang together enough to give off an overall laid-back, go-with-the-flow kind of vibe. As with their other albums, each of the Browns heard in one or two solos as well as in two-piano, five-piano, and piano six-hands pieces. There are arrangements by Greg Anderson tailored to the Browns, which add to the already classic melodies of Rachmaninov's "18th Variation from the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," Debussy's "Clair de Lune," and the bonus track where the Browns accompany Dean Martin in "Everybody Loves Somebody." The extra parts may be viewed as unnecessary puffery, but what Anderson did is no more than Leopold Godowsky did to Saint-Saëns' "The Swan" or Earl Wild to Gershwin's "Embraceable You," both heard here as solos by Melody and Desirae, respectively. In the case of the Rachmaninov, the extra filling is more improvisational sounding, which then makes the group as a whole sound like it's not always together. Sometimes the pieces seem to plod along without too much of a sense of direction or purpose, or even a full understanding of the music, as in the case of "Gretchen am Spinnrade" as played by Ryan. But, then again, the point of the album is the mood, ranging from lushly romantic to melancholy to just plain mellow, and covering what otherwise would be a strange collection of composers, from Schubert to W.C. Handy. An exciting highlight is "Reflections on Shenandoah," commissioned by the Browns from pianist/composer John Novacek. It's a work that hauntingly renders the folk song as a mini-tone poem depiction of the river. The Browns are also joined by guests Gil Shaham in another selection from Saint-Saëns' "Carnival of the Animals" and Chris Botti in an excerpt from Gershwin's "American in Paris."

In keeping with the low-key approach, the notes for the album are inconsequential on purpose, but for those who have them and actually read them, they can also be enigmatic. (Why is Sibelius given a co-composer credit on Vaughan Williams' "Dives and Lazarus," and is the Dean Martin song deemed a "bonus" track just because it's not mentioned at all in the notes?) That, plus the unusual program and sometimes the interpretations prevent most of the hardcore classical world from ever taking the family seriously, but those who already are fans of the 5 Browns or are willing to try something different (and possibly fun) will definitely want to have this album. It is a chance to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the music with them.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/2/2007
  • Label: Rca
  • UPC: 886971705225
  • Catalog Number: 717052

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The 5 Browns Primary Artist
Dean Martin Vocals
Chris Botti Trumpet
Paul Morin Bass
Gregg Field Drums
Gil Shaham Violin
Ryan Brown Piano
Deondra Brown Piano
Gregory Brown Piano
Melody Brown Piano
Technical Credits
Leopold Godowsky Arranger
Art Tatum Arranger
Joel Diamond Producer, Executive Producer, Personal Manager
Chris Jennings Digital Editing
Ken Lane Lyricist
Timothy Martyn Engineer
Jay David Saks Producer
Al Schmidt Engineer
Roxanne Slimak Art Direction
Isaiah Abolin Digital Editing
Rob Christie Engineer
Rick Jacobsohn Engineer
Elizabeth A. Wright Product Development
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing again!

    As usual I am amazed at the sheer talent displayed by the Browns - the music is seamless whether played by one pianist or all five. The CD opens with an expansion of the beautiful 18th Variation (Rachmaninoff) and continues with an exquisite Aquarium (Saint-Saens) by Desirae and Deondra. The album is more quiet than "blue" in my opinion but a treat in any case.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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