Friday 31 March 2017

Brownman Ali and Five Weeks for Miles

KITCHENER ON, April 2017 --- The artist hailed by the Village Voice as Canada's preeminent jazz trumpet player brings his legendary tribute series Five Weeks for Miles to downtown Kitchener.

Every Saturday night in April beginning at 9 p.m. Brownman Ali leads a quintet of first-call jazz cats from Toronto through the music of Miles Davis.  The series is called Five Weeks for Miles. It happens at The Boathouse on Jubilee Drive in Victoria Park in downtown Kitchener.  Each show will cover a different era in Miles' 40-year long career. 

Since it was started eight years ago, this is the first time Brown performs his highly-acclaimed tribute to Miles Davis outside Toronto.  All of the shows at The Boathouse are Plugin Events.  So all of the cover charges are donated to charity.  The artists fees are covered by corporate sponsors.

This first show is 'Young Miles" --- The Bird Years.  This is early Bebop when Miles was playing with Charlie Parker.  For this show Nick Morgan is on alto sax.  Adrean Farrugia piano.  Ross MacIntyre double bass.  Norbert Botos drums.  Like I said, first-call jazz cats. This show ran Saturday April 1. About 58 attended, raising $1,158 for Anselma House.

The second show is "Birth of the Cool" -- Post-Bop Miles.  Features Jeff King on tenor sax, Nick Maclean on piano, Jesse Dietschi on upright bass and Tyler Goertzen on drums.  This show ran Saturday April 8th to a packed house of 120.  Absolute silence in the club when Brown started playing Kind of Blue. Raised $2,300 for Ray of Hope.

The third show is "Plugged Nickel" -- The Shorter Years.  Features Andy Ballantyne on tenor sax, David Restivo on piano, Mike Downes on upright bass and Morgan Childs on drums. This show ran Saturday, April 15th. About 75 people attended, raising $1,400 for Heart Wood Place.

The fourth show is called "From Bitches Brew to Tutu" -- Electric Miles.  Features David Riddel electric guitar, Stu Harrison rhodes & synths, Marc Rogers six string electric bass and Colin Kingsmore drums. This show runs Saturday, April 22nd.

The fifth and final show, "Doo-Bop" -- Had He Lived.  Features Ayrah Taerb rapper, DJ Dopey on turntables, Ian De Souza on six string electric bass, and Colin Kingsmore on drums. This show runs Saturday, April 29th.

These are all Plugin Events.  You can buy tickets here:  Tickets are also available at the door.  If you want a seat, arrive by 8 p.m. During the first three shows, all seats were occupied by 8:30 p.m. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to a charity in downtown Kitchener.

Brownman Ali is among the most versatile jazz trumpet players in the world today.  He is a force of musical nature.  

Brown graduated with a BSc in physics from the University of Waterloo, and then headed for New York City to study trumpet under the multiple-Grammy-Award winning Randy Brecker.  For 15 years, on and off, Brown was Brecker's student.  And Brown is not finished learning from the great man either.  He soon returns to New York City for advanced studies with Brecker, thanks to a Canada Council grant.

Before that happens though Brown plays his award-winning series Five Weeks for Miles in Kitchener.  This is a rare and beautiful event of the highest order. A live-music series that will be talked about for years.  A cultural marker that audience members will never forget.

Dante Pocnich is a huge fan of live jazz.  The Kitchener resident has attended every show so far, and has been blown away every time.

"My wife and I attend a minimum of 35 live shows a year, and this one would be right up there, the top two or three for the year," said Pocnich after hearing Brownman cover the iconic album Kind of Blue.

Another Kitchener jazz fan, Tim Butcher, has also made it out for every show so far.

"Best jazz experience ever," said Butcher.

The Boathouse was absolutely silent when Brownman stepped up to the microphone with a mute in his horn, and made time stop.  The music from the greatest selling jazz album ever still has the magic to silence a room. Completely.

Miles Davis' music varied greatly from Bebop in the 1940s, modal jazz in the 1950s, the experimental quintets of the 1960s, the fusion of 1969's Bitches Brew, and his late career electric jazz.  This music is so different, and so challenging, only someone like Brown can do it, leading different groups through each phase of the master's music.

When he is not gigging, arranging, composing and recording Brown runs a small record label called BROWNTASAURUS RECORDS.  It is a non-profit.  He and the label are all about getting jazz music recorded and released.  All of the proceeds from CD sales go to the artists.  The label does not take a cut.  Brown is at the top of the call list for music giants, including Jay-z, Missy Elliot, Paul Simon and Quincy Jones, among many others.  He was in the studio recently laying down tracks for Nelly Furtado.  He has played the Boathouse twice before, and the TWH Social last Halloween with his tribute to Michael Jackson's seminal and classic Thriller.

If you are new to Brownman Ali, check out this:

Brownman is a class act.  This series of shows is dedicated to Frank Francis and the memory of one of Toronto's great jazz clubs - The TRANE STUDIO, where the Five Weeks for Miles was birthed, and where it lived for eight years.

"Toronto isn't the same without that joint,"  Brown says.

And Kitchener-Waterloo will never be the same after Brown finishes Five Weeks for Miles at The Boathouse.  It will set a new standard for live jazz in this city.  Who knows, it may become an annual show.