Those Moaning Saxophones

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Scott Yanow
Coleman Hawkins was the first major jazz saxophonist, debuting on records in 1921 and really coming into his own with his solo on "The Stampede" in 1925. The World Saxophone Quartet, the first important a cappella saxophone section in jazz, was founded in 1976. However, the Six Brown Brothers predated both Hawkins and the WSQ, making musical history that until 2004 had not been available on CD. Other than a saxophone quartet taken from John Philip Sousa's band that recorded "Annie Laurie" in the late 1890s, the Six Brown Brothers were the first band of its type, recording during 1911-1920. Altoist Tom Brown bought his first saxophone in 1904 and within two years was ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Scott Yanow
Coleman Hawkins was the first major jazz saxophonist, debuting on records in 1921 and really coming into his own with his solo on "The Stampede" in 1925. The World Saxophone Quartet, the first important a cappella saxophone section in jazz, was founded in 1976. However, the Six Brown Brothers predated both Hawkins and the WSQ, making musical history that until 2004 had not been available on CD. Other than a saxophone quartet taken from John Philip Sousa's band that recorded "Annie Laurie" in the late 1890s, the Six Brown Brothers were the first band of its type, recording during 1911-1920. Altoist Tom Brown bought his first saxophone in 1904 and within two years was fronting a saxophone quartet for Ringling Brothers' circus. By 1906 he was leading his group for the circus in the summer and during the off season in the winter on vaudeville. As the Brown Brothers' Saxophone Quintette with just five saxes, the ensemble recorded three cylinders and two songs for a "78" in 1911. The latter two numbers open up this CD. Although a copycat group re-recorded the two songs less than a year later with the same arrangement, the next time Tom Brown appeared on record was with the full Six Brown Brothers in 1914. By then they were a hit on vaudeville, combining together music with comedy, and were performing in the show "Chin Chin" as a clown band. Those Moaning Saxophones has roughly half of the recordings of the Six Brown Brothers. Most of the time the personnel actually has five of the Brown Brothers Percy, who left the group in 1911, died in the influenza epidemic of 1918 plus Harry Fink, who used the name of Harry Brown. The band consisted of two altos, two tenors, a baritone, and a bass sax, with soprano not being used until 1920. Although the musicians played arrangements and did not improvise, their performances are influenced by ragtime and include such numbers as "American Patrol," "That Moaning Saxophone Rag," "Bull Frog Blues," "Walkin' the Dog," "The Darktown Strutters' Ball," and "Jazz Band Blues." Along the way there are a few satires of classical music, several medleys, and some fairly straight but always colorful dance music. The final three selections on this CD were previously unreleased, believed to be soundtracks from otherwise lost film shorts, including one from 1927. Although the Six Brown Brothers did not make any records after 1920, they continued playing with gradually decreasing success until they broke up in 1933. Except among "78" collectors, they have been largely unheard and forgotten since that time, but now at last there is a full CD of their unique and eerie music, filling an important gap in music history. This unusual and definitive CD from Archeophone the most important label involved in reissuing pre-1920 music also has very informative liner notes. Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/27/2004
  • Label: Archeophone Records
  • UPC: 777215105515
  • Catalog Number: 6002
  • Sales rank: 345,581

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Six Brown Brothers Primary Artist
Alec Brown Baritone Saxophone
Vern Brown Bass Saxophone
Tom Brown Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
William Brown Tenor Saxophone
Fred Brown Alto Saxophone
Matthew Amaturo Bass Saxophone
Technical Credits
Irving Berlin Composer
Al Jolson Composer
Tom Brown Composer
Shelton Brooks Composer
Buddy DeSylva Composer
Fred Rose Composer
Guy Shrigley Composer
Bruce Vermazen Liner Notes
Herbert Stothart Composer
Paul Biese Composer
Walter Hirsch Composer
Egbert VanAlstyne Composer
Arthur Terker Composer
Seymour Brown Composer
George L. Cobb Composer
Mabel Wayne Composer
Jean Kenbrovin Composer
Meagan Hennessey Producer
F. Henri Klickmann Composer
Harry Cook Composer
Frank W. Meacham Composer
James White Composer
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