LIVE: Cameron Brown’s Birthday Bash @ The Falcon, 12/20/15

January 12th, 2016, 4:00 pm by Greg


Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

Jazz bass master Cameron Brown turned 70 years old on Monday, December 21, but the celebration began a day earlier, as The Falcon in Marlboro hosted a big birthday bash featuring Brown and an all-star line-up of his friends, including jazz singer Sheila Jordan, saxophonist Joe Lovano, drummer Billy Hart and special guest vocalist Judy Silvano.

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Brown’s bass playing has helped to lay the foundation for a multitude of musicians over the years, including trumpeter Don Cherry, the Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet (with Mingus drummer Danny Richmond) and Dewey Redman.

The two-set performance at The Falcon featured a great mixture of music culled from Brown’s vast musical history and a wide range of jazz. Gems such as Don Cherry’s “Art Deco” and Ornette Coleman’s “Fort Worth” nestled alongside Brown’s own compositions (“For Dad and Danny”) and standards like “Dat Dere” (which Jordan recorded on her 1963 debut album), Cole Porter’s “You Do Something for Me” and Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation.” Jordan even paid tribute to her Seneca heritage by vocalizing Seneca-style to Jimmy Webb’s “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.”

The chemistry between these virtuosos was quite palpable, especially the near telepathic bond between Brown and Jordan, who have worked together extensively as a duo over the years. There were plentiful playful exchanges between the two of them during the performance.

Joe Lovano displayed the wide range of tones that he is famous for, however, he was somewhat subdued during most of the performance; he was almost conversational in “For Dad and Danny.” He engaged in a duel with his wife Judy Silvano at the end of the set that showcased the obvious bond between the two, as well as Silvano’s background in dance.

Billy Hart fired up strong fundamental backbeats, exhibiting his background in R&B, as well as jazz, playing complex, abstract rhythms throughout the evening.

The performance was certainly a treat for both the listeners and the performers. I wonder what the performance will be like for Cameron’s 80th birthday bash?