Oct 15, 2014
It’s always a pleasure to see jazz musicians who have performed and recorded as sidemen for years get the chance to step up and be leaders on their own recording projects. Otis Brown III is the latest such musician – the top-flight drummer, with dozens of credits and work on Grammy nominated albums, releases The Thought of You earlier this month.
Brown’s maiden voyage features an impressive roll call of artists including a core band consisting of artists with whom he either attended school or broke into the scene with. These names include pianist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, saxophonist John Ellis, and bassist Ben Williams (most recently of the Pat Metheny Unity Band). Organist Shedrick Mitchell and guitarist Nir Felder making special appearances, as do singers Bilal, Gretchen Parlato, and Nikki Ross.
You may already be familiar with Mr. Brown’s dexterity as the drummer in a number of Joe Lovano’s projects, most notably his Us Five quintet, recording three albums with that band, including the Grammy-nominated Bird Songs.
Brown has been on a number of top-flight releases this year. He was a key member of the rhythm section to deliver Afrobeat inflections to The Lagos Music Salon by Somi, and joined John Ellis is making as members of Anne Mette Iversen's Double Life for her Brooklyn Jazz Underground release So Many Roads.
I spoke with Otis as The Thought of You was getting ready to drop, and we discussed the song selection for the CD, including the multi-part title track, whether he has difficulties playing drums for vocalists, and how a Shania Twain country-pop hit came to be a key song on the CD. Podcast 449 is our conversation featuring music from The Thought of You and other Brown recordings including:
Otis Brown III – “The Thought of You (Part II)” and “You’re Still the One (featuring Gretchen Parlato)” from The Thought of You.
Somi – "Four Women” from The Lagos Music Salon.
Joe Lovano – “Drum Song” from Folk Art.