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January/February 2005

Maurice Brown
Hip to Bop

With Hip to Bop (Brown), the New Orleans-based 24-year-old Maurice Brown articulates a sound that's closer to Russell Gunn's acoustic work for HighNote. But the title track, a modern funk blues colored by Wurlitzer piano and wah-wah trumpet, complicates that assessment. So does the catchy soul-jazz of "It's a New Day," with guest percussionist (and "hombre caliente") Bill Summers. Brown's sidemen-Derek Douget on tenor sax, Doug Bickel on piano and keys, Jason Stewart on bass and Adonis Rose on drums-offer sturdy support and exceptional solos on this gratifying all-original set, which includes such idiosyncratic themes as "Conceptions" and "Look Ma No Hands" (the latter derived from Herbie Hancock's "One Finger Snap"). Brown harks back to Wynton Marsalis' aggressive "Knozz-Moe-King" days with the pregnant pauses and cued tempo changes of the opening "Rapture," but his more lyrical side emerges on "Mi Amor" and "A Call for All Angels."

Originally published in January/February 2005
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