Andy Brown Quartet – Direct Call (2016)

Andy Brown Quartet - Direct Call (2016)
Artist: Andy Brown Quartet
Album: Direct Call
Genre: Mainstream Jazz/Guitar
Origin: USA
Released: 2016
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

Tracklist:
01. The Jeep Is Jumpin’ 04:40
02. Prisoner Of Love 05:58
03. El Cajon 04:37
04. Funk In Deep Freeze 07:06
05. Appel Direct (Direct Call) 04:47
06. Relaxing 06:20
07. One Morning In May 04:47
08. Catch Me 05:14
09. Ela E Carioca 06:44
10. Freak Of The Week 04:38

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When I think of Chicago jazz guitar, I instantly think of Andy Brown. He’s been a veteran of the Chicago scene for over 13 years now. His new album Direct Call captures the soul and intimacy of Brown’s live weekly performances at Andy’s Jazz Club in the Windy City. The album features the same quartet that plays with Andy at Andy’s consisting of Jeremy Kahn, piano, Joe Policastro, bass, and Phil Gratteau on drums.

This album is what a studio jazz recording should be all about. It’s sincere, pure, and sounds exactly like a late night live set at a real jazz club. Brown and his band do tasty and dedicated covers of Johnny Hodges “The Jeep Is Jumpin’”, Hank Mobley’s “Funk In Deep Freeze”, Johnny Mandel’s “El Cajon” as well as the title track which was written by Django Reinhardt.

You can hear hints of legends like Wes Montgomery, Lenny Breau, and Joe Pass in Brown’s style but his sense of spacing and dynamics are extraordinarily unique. Jeremy Kahn’s piano accompaniment is swinging and precise. Kahn’s solo on the title track is poignant and masterful. The rhythm backing of Policastro and Gratteau is tight and wonderfully sparse.

The ballads really shine on this recording, especially on Jimmie Guinn’s “Relaxing” and Russ Columbo’s standard “Prisoner Of Love” which has the same feel to it as the version Lester Young did with Teddy Wilson on the classic Verve album Press And Teddy. Brown’s guitar lines and arpeggios are as fluid and lyrical as that of a master class jazz vocalist.The band’s take on Hoagy Carmichael’s “One Morning In May” is syncopated, thematic, and tender. You really feel the strong chemistry between Brown and his quartet on this number. It’s evident that these guys know each other’s styles intimately.

The uptempo “Catch Me” swings as hard as humanly possible. Gratteau’s bop flavored drumming is phenomenal and Kahn delivers his most imaginative piano solo on the album. On Jobim’s “Ela E’ Carioca”, Brown plays with the kind of breath and restraint of a true master. This is a soulfully stellar performance on all levels. Policastro’s bass solo is slick, melodic and sticks to the composition’s theme perfectly. This is truly an album highlight.

The album closes with the bluesy “Freak Of The Week” written by John Coates Jr .Brown really pays homage to Wes Montgomery here, playing those on of a kind octaves that Montgomery made so popular and the band cooks with sheer joy.

If you’re looking for a pure jazz album with no flash and nothing but great music, you must get a copy of Direct Call by The Andy Brown Quartet. This is the real deal.
By Devon “Doc” Wendell

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