Dan Brown – Rewilding
Independent – September 17, 2021
As Matt Carmichael and Fergus McCready and Scottish folk collective Staran showed last year, there is something intrinsically happy about the way traditional Scottish music blends so well with jazz. To these ranks we can now add the name Dan Brown, a 25 year old multi-instrumentalist. Born in Kendal in the English Lake District, Dan is now an integral part of the Glasgow jazz scene. He toured and performed with the Joshua Elcock Big Band, a trumpeter also featured on this CD, and with Ross Wilson's Blue Rose Code. Rewilding is his recording debut, where he can be heard on piano, acoustic tenor guitar, clarinet and accordion, alongside the talents of Matt Carmichael on saxophones and Laura Wilkie on violin (Kinnaris Quintet), among others.
While it's a relatively short work, only 24 minutes long and spread over seven tracks, it's a joyful introduction that bodes well for Brown's future. The opener "Above the Clouds" starts off simple enough, with a fairly orthodox guitar and piano dueting on a slow reel before the accordion kicks in. A simple and beguiling melody, it is as short as it is charming. “Watchers of the Waves” follows, creating a touch of anticipation as the piano is accompanied by Carmichael's warm and smoky tenor saxophone, the instruments dancing around each other. It gradually loosens up and every musician stretches out without ever losing sight of the central theme. Quite wonderful.
“Greenside” begins again with the picked guitar, underpinned by the subtle undercurrent of Stephen Henderson's percussion, before the swing of Wilkie's violin, the two main instruments fit together effortlessly, a slight syncope adds to the cadences of the melody. Halfway through, everyone accelerates to the end for a brisk gallop. There is a vibrating bass motif throughout, which underlines the overall lively character of the track.
I haven't heard a better title than "The Tractors of South Uist" this year. Again, the smallest excerpt of a melody, in little more than a minute, solo piano is all you need and all you get, my mind imagines seaweed collection from a sandy beach. Brown says it was the rusting, disused tractors that inspired him. This is followed by the livelier “Seven Spiers” with flautist Tom Campbell-Paine, another Royal Conservatoire alumnus. After a short introduction, Stephen Henderson's drums kick in and off you go, the jazziest track here, with elements of jazz-rock fusion on the e-keyboard. The track was inspired by the record-breaking Irish-Belgian climber Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll, who recently celebrated his first solo ascent of the Fitz Roy massif in Patagonia with the Penny Whistle.
In the last two tracks Elcock plays trumpet and flugelhorn. First, & # 39; Lines Across the Sky & # 39 ;, with nimble guitar and piano adding a slight Italian chamber effect, accordion adding to the effect, with flavors reminiscent of some of the music from the Battlefield Band's Music in Trust project remember that then from the paired use of trumpet and clarinet to a counter melody in the hinterland. It creates a wonderful combination of contrasts. Finally “Seal Song” with a sluggish piano opening segment. Clarinet and accordion dive in as the tempo increases and a pastoral jig emerges, Henderson's percussion joins the fight. Finally, the tenor guitar is the climax, and the crowning glory is the common trumpet and flugelhorn. Too short and it's over.
Rewilding is majestic music. Dan Brown, the writer, lead musician, and producer, has a bright future, as does everyone here, who are duly credited with the result. It's a half hour well spent.
Order rewilding via Bandcamp: https://danbrownmusic.bandcamp.com/album/rewilding