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Tyrone Brown: String Thing

Tyrone Brown, center, with his string ensemble

Tyrone Brown knows all the ins and outs of traditional jazz. After all, he’s played bass with Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry and Nat Adderley, among others, and he toured and recorded with the Max Roach Quartet for 19 years. But it was a solo concert that brought him the opportunity to record as a leader, and he used that opportunity to explore a novel sound: a string ensemble, led from below by Brown and augmented by percussion.

“I had the honor of being booked to perform a solo bass concert at the Moers Jazz Festival in Germany in May of ’96,” Brown says. “The director of the festival and president of the Moers record company, Burkhard Hennen, was impressed and offered me a recording contract. He, however, felt from a business perspective that Americans are not musically sophisticated enough to appreciate a solo bass recording. So he asked if I had any ideas that would give the CD a little more variety.

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