Alex Dean listens to Brian Browne's solo. ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Alex Dean listens to Brian Browne's solo. ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Carleton University Jazz Camp Concert #2
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University

Brian Browne demonstrated exactly why standards have had such a long-lasting appeal in jazz, at his Tuesday night concert at the Carleton University Jazz Camp.

Playing with Alex Dean on tenor sax, Kieran Overs on bass, and Mike Essoudry on drums, the Ottawa piano master gave an assured tour through some well-known standards ("Take the A-Train" and "Theme from the Summer of '42") and some lesser-known ("Soul Eyes" by Mal Waldron), to an appreciative audience.

Each song got a thorough consideration: with "Skylark", Dean opened the melody while Browne echoed it underneath, and they continued in a slow, extended style to explore the song's emotional depths. But then both moved to bop, with a strong stride-style piano. The piano and sax alternated, each eventually slowing down to let the other take over before they both roared back to the ending.

Overs provided a delicate, extended bass solo to open "Emily", while Essoudry introduced "A Night in Tunisia" with a restrained yet full drum solo, with interesting echoes. But it was definitely Browne's night. He's a strong, dominant player and set the tone for the night: soulful ballads and syncopated bop pieces, sometimes in  the same song. He began "Georgia on My Mind" by describing it as "simple but not simple" and then produced bell-like piano notes. Dean took over the melody and they collaborated in moving the tempo faster and then slower again.

After a blues encore, Browne dedicated the evening to "all those hot young piano players out there. Herbie, watch your back!"

    – Alayne McGregor