Anita Brown

 
 

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Nyack News & Views Arts Index

For over a century, our region has been the home of extraordinary artists from the major disciplines such as: performance (Helen Hayes), visual arts (Edward Hopper), literature (Carson McCullers), and music (Kurt Weill). Local Arts Index, a new weekly feature on NyackNewsAndViews, highlights the work of an artist who continues our community’s rich creative legacy. On September 10, 2011, Anita Brown premiered Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra. The commemoration and orchestral depiction of the American experience surrounding our national tragedy of 9/11 was performed by Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra in Memorial Park and featured the United States Marine Corp Silent Drill Platoon. Anita Brown is the daughter of Phyllis & Ted Brown, both 85, who met studying with legendary jazz artist, Lennie Tristano in the 1950′s. Ted is a renowned tenor saxophonist and is actively performing and recording in Greater NY. Anita’s younger brother Jeff, a Westchester resident, is a jazz drummer. What Kind of Art Do You Make? I primarily write music. I compose mostly for my professional 17-piece jazz orchestra, Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra, but I also compose in the R&B/crossover genre and write children’s songs with lyrics. I have written teaching materials, essays,published articles, and most recently a children’s book (fiction) addressing the topic of tolerance. With some drawing skills I am the visual artist behind the oil-crayon logos for all of my websites. What is your Muse? An event, something of great beauty, a marvel of sorts or a personal experience has been my muse most consistently. At times it’s simply an idea to teach something when composing children’s songs and curricula, but mostly it is a personal, profound response to something in life. In five movements, Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra (2011) tells a definitively American story, from before 9/11 through today, spanning the broad spectrum of emotions, ending with a strong anthem-like movement with unison vocals, inviting the audience to symbolically *Stand* in song, as one people. Alexander’s Lullaby Waltz, was composed at the birth of my nephew (now 14); Add Venom, Shake Well is a response to an emotional wreckage; 27 EAST , Shifting Tides of Montauk and The Lighthouse are responses to varying aspects of the beauty and serenity of the sea at Montauk, NY (all from my CD, 27 EAST, 2003). What’s Next? My first work for symphony orchestra, Disarming The Tempest will be read by The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert-like run through in April. The American Composers Orchestra, Columbia University and The Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA are sponsoring the performance. Disarming The Tempest is a symphonic poem illuminating the plight of returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.) More detailed information is at anitabrownmusic.com or standsymphony.com. Beyond that, I am seeking grants to continue to perform and properly record Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra and to get another project, Operation Dovetail, off the ground. Operation Dovetail is a presentation and supporting website for returning combat veterans that seeks to introduce the value of becoming involved in the creative process as one facet of their healing. Anyone interested in supporting Anita’s work as a teaching artist may make a one-time or recurring tax-deductible contribution at anitabrownmusic.com. Curated by Bill Batson Photo credits: Krista Wortendyke and Richard Kavesh Local Arts Index in sponsored by Maria Luisa, 77 South Broadway and ML Gifts & Accessories 75 South Broadway, Nyack, NY

Nyack News and Views

Local Composer/Conductor Gets Jazzed About Summer School May 21, 2012 Nyack Jazz composer/conductor Anita Brown has been selected to participate in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute this summer. Each year the JCOI selects up to 35 jazz composers in various stages of their composing careers from a national call for applications. Brown, an accomplished jazz composer and conductor, premiered her 9/11 inspired composition and performance art, Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra, in Nyack’s Memorial Park on September 10, 2011 featuring The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. The Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute is a joint effort of the American Composers Orchestra and the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University in cooperation with The Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. In the first phase of the JCOI, participants study with renowned leading composers, conductors and performers. Under the tutelage of these composers, the participants examine aspects of writing for the symphony orchestra, one of the supreme challenges for any aspiring composer. After completing the first part of the program, participants can apply to be part of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute New Music Readings, to be held April to September 2013. The second JCOI phase includes up to 18 composers. Composers will receive coaching from mentor composers and a professional music copyist/engraver during the period they are writing their pieces; and feedback from orchestra principal musicians, conductors, librarians, and mentor composers during the readings. Brown’s credits include work as a composer, a conductor and a columnist for JazzEd magazine. In 2000 she founded the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra and independently recorded and released her debut CD 27 EAST in 2003. Brown served as conductor, contractor and executive producer of this recording which features seven of her original compositions. Since its release it has received critical acclaim and appeared in six categories on the ballot for the 46th Grammy Awards. In 2006 Brown received the ASCAP/International Jazz Composers’ Symposium New Music Award for Big Band Works for her composition, The Lighthouse. See also: Stand: A Symphony For Jazz Orchestra, AnitaBrownMusic.com

Nyack News & Views

Saturday In the Park: Stand, A 9/11 Jazz Tribute September 9, 2011 by admin at Leave a Comment Nyack, Sept 9 — Fair skies, a big crowd and more than 70 marines are in the forecast for Saturday afternoon in Memorial Park at 2p. That’s when Stand, a concert jazz program commemorating the American experience surrounding 9/11 will be premiered by the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra. The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon from Marine Barracks, Washington, DC will be on hand representing all first responders with an additional thirty Marines from Brooklyn, Newburgh and Middletown attending the event. “Never in the history of jazz has there been performance art that brings both NYC’s finest Broadway and studio musicians together with the finest ceremonial representation of our nation’s first responder, The United States Marines,” says Nyack’s Anita Brown, an award-winning New York jazz composer. Brown says it’s fitting to premiere this production on the eve of the ten-year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy. “I did not set out to create something ground-breaking, but that’s sometimes what happens when artists just follow their instincts,” she says. Haley Swindal, the granddaughter of the late George Steinbrenner, will be the Master of Ceremonies for this event. Swindal will sing the national anthem and perform with several other vocalists in the final movement of Stand. Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra in five movements, will be performed at Nyack’s Memorial Park on Saturday September 10 at 2p. Admission is free — but it’s recommended that concert goers bring a lawn chair to enjoy the show. Memorial Park in Nyack overlooks the Hudson River with an entrance at Depew & Piermont Avenue in Nyack, NY. The final movement of Stand includes audience participation. Here’s a preview of Saturday’s performance: The first movement, The Homeland, is a blues in the style of America’s own classic tradition of swing jazz, conveying a sense of security pre-dating 9/11/01. The second, Tuesday Morning, opens with the depiction of a lovely morning and moves through the events of that tragic day. Benumbed follows, an expression of grief and confusion. The fourth movement, Valor, was inspired by traditions of military funeral honors. It includes a dramatic moment of silence/reflection representing of all first responders and a renewal of strength. The audience is invited to join the performers in song in the final movement, fittingly called Stand. Brown says it includes an anthem-like, unison melody showing the united strength of many. Public response to Stand has been positive. “People are fascinated with the idea and have thanked me for doing this,” says Brown. She’s especially pleased about how people have responded to the significance of the USMC’s Silent Drill Platoon participation. “The Silent Drill Platoon is world renowned. The fact that they have approved support for this event is amazing to me,” she adds. It’s a big event for Nyack and Brown hopes the community will come out to support the performance — with their lawn chairs and their wallets, too. “We are operating with very little capital and truly need donations from individuals and businesses.” Brown is hoping that donations at the contributor page of StandSymphony.com will help cover the costs of feeding and busing 33 Marines from Washington, DC, the professional musicians that will be performing as well as the sound engineers and the videographers, too. “Writing music is time-consuming; writing while there is no income raises many challenges,” says Brown. Multi-talented Anita Brown is a composer, a columnist for JazzEd magazine and the founder and leader of the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra. The ABJO has been described as a ‘blue-chip’ ensemble, calling upon ‘top drawer New York session’ players including a ‘platoon of persuasive soloists’ breathing life into Ms. Brown’s works with conviction and finesse. In 2006 Brown received the ASCAP/International Jazz Composers’ Symposium New Music Award for Big Band Works for her composition, The Lighthouse. In the event of rain, Stand will performed indoors at the Bowman Gymnasium at Nyack College, 1 South Boulevard in Nyack.

Marc Santos Photography

Home»All Photographs»Stand: A Symphony For Jazz Orchestra 62 photos Commemorating our national tragedy of September 11, 2001. Please see http://standsymphony.com/ for more details. These are the artful photographs of local photographer and friend, Marc Santos. Please visit his website to see some beautiful shots of the day. ~AB

NyackPatch.com

The Neighborhood Files Viewfinder: Jazz, Marines At 9/11 Commemorative Event Jazz Concert, U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon along the waterfront in Nyack. The U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performs at Nyack's Memorial Park at a 9/11 commemorative event. Credit: William Demarest Stand, a symphony for Jazz orchestra, composed and conducted by Anita Brown of South Nyack, was performed Saturday at a 9/11 commemorative event at Nyack's Memorial Park. At the event, the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon from the Marine Barracks at Washington, D.C., performed — symbolizing all the first-responders who answered the call of duty on Sept. 11, 2001 when the nation was hit by terrorism. [*There are many wonderful photos at this link by Phil Costas. Click the link at the end of the comments to connect. ~AB] Comments (7) Craig Sherman 9:58am on Sunday, September 11, 2011 Phil these are some amazing photos! Thanks for being there as we were all wayyyyy to busy to get such great shots! Reply Stanley Nichols 4:55pm on Sunday, September 11, 2011 Excellent article. Phil, you are on your way! Reply JSimms 11:02am on Monday, September 12, 2011 . Reply Comment_arrow JSimms 11:19am on Monday, September 12, 2011 Was this a 9-11 memorial performance. If it was, why was there no mention of the victims or families? Why was there so much talk from Mrs. Cornell about the band leader? Seemed out of place and borish. The marines were wonderful! They stole the show and lent pride and partiotism to it all. So many marines attended to support the performing marines. My my grandfather was a marine. Ooh-rah! Delete Anita Brown 1:51am on Thursday, September 15, 2011 Dear Mr. Simms, With all due respect, Ms. Cornell was talking about "the band leader," as she is the one who conceived of the idea of this piece of performance art and is the single person who was responsible for securing the Silent Drill Platoon's support, among meeting all the contractual obligations of The United States Marine Corps, and creating a "new work of performance art" that seeks to "commemorate and depict the American experience surrounding our national tragedy of 9/11" and during which the Silent Drill Platoon was carefully integrated to "represent all first responders in the scope of the piece." Please visit www.standsymphony.com for clarification. Thank you for coming. I hope at least some of my efforts pleased you and I do hope the information on the website will clarify an confusions you may have. The concert program is downloadable at that site. I hope it will illuminate the intention of the piece. Very Respectfully, Anita Brown, Composer, Conductor, Executive Producer. Reply Delete Anita Brown 3:33am on Thursday, September 15, 2011 BTW Those Marines in attendance were there by design. After many discussions w/ HQMC The Commandant of The Marine Corps decided to send an officer in his behalf. LtCol. Meyer therefore attended on General Amos' behalf and decided to bring a number of Marines from Newburgh. The Brooklyn Marines brought color guard & firing detail; an integral part of the "performance art" rendering the highest military funeral honors, for all victims of 9/11 & those who fell since then as a result of answering the call to arms. Those Marines didn't just show up of their own accord to support "the performing Marines." They attended in an official capacity as a result of tenacious effort. Tenacity yielded about 70 Marines tasked, one on stage & one photographer. The number of Marines in attendance was no accident. I hope they didn't "steal the show" as you say, as I spent 12 months plus, composing that music so that I could present this in my home town for the 10th anniversary of this solemn occasion, offering light and inspiration for all to Stand together as one. In the history of USMC, this is the first time it was approved that SDP would participate in a piece of performance art. In the history of jazz, no composer ever sought to put NYC's finest jazz, B'way & studio musicians on the same stage as the ceremonial representation of USMC, telling an American story together. Completely new. Never been done before. Never be presented here again. Never. Reply MaryBeth 11:27pm on Thursday, September 15, 2011 Honestly, JSimms, your comment was uninformed, ill directed, narrow minded, and out of line. Enough said.

The Journal News

Nyack composer's new jazz symphony pays tribute to 9/11 5:15 PM, Sep. 7, 2011 The Journal News (Rockland/Westchester Counties) by Emily Kratzer The inspiration for composer Anita Brown's "Stand: A Jazz Symphony" began on Sept. 12, 2001. "I didn't plan to do something big, I just followed a little idea," says Brown, a Nyack resident and prolific jazz composer and arranger. "I followed those ideas once I got the strength to face (9/11) events again. … and here we are." Brown's symphony, a large-scale work commemorating the American experience surrounding 9/11, will have its debut on Saturday at Nyack's Memorial Park. The performance is free. Like many, touched and spurred to action by the events of 9/11, Brown's "little ideas" led to some major action. Her symphony will get some assistance from the U.S. Marine Corps, which is sending a unit from Newburgh led by Lt. Col. Peter Meyer. The unit will stand at attention during the entire performance. A firing detail and color guard from the 6th Communication Battalion out of Brooklyn will also enhance the performance. Brown has pulled together some amazing performers, as well. Among the 29 musicians and six vocalists are percussionist Lee Finkelstein of the Blues Brothers, trumpeters Staff Sgt. Josh Economy from the U.S. Military Academy Band's Jazz Knights and John Owens ("Mama Mia" and "Wicked" on Broadway), and alto saxophonist Dave Pietro, who teaches at New York University's Steinhardt School. Haley Swindal, a granddaughter of the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, will sing "The Star Spangled Banner." Brown points out that the structure of her composition is not literally a symphony but inspired by the symphonic structure. "In a traditional performance, the audience refrains from applauding between movements, but since this is a jazz performance you can applaud after an improv solo," she says. "Otherwise, applaud between movements depending on how you are moved." The first movement is the swing-inspired "Homeland," which depicts time pre-Sept. 11, 2001. It's followed by "Tuesday Morning," which evokes the traumatic and haunting events that actual morning. Brown describes the third movement, "Benumbed," as quieter, an exclamation of pain that uses the strains of the U.S. Navy Hymn to depict both honor and personal grief. "Valor," the fourth movement, begins with seven of the Marines firing three rifle volleys, and a performance by the Silent Drill Platoon. In Brown's description of her work, she says "The inclusion of the Silent Drill Platoon as the centerpiece of this movement is visual testament of the courage, commitment, honor and discipline of our nation's first responders. ... The silence during their performance provides the audience a moment to reflect on personal experiences and emotions aroused during the previous movements and by the changes our nation has undergone since the attacks." "Stand, A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra," is the latest in a string of acclaimed works for the composer, whose 2008 work, "Remembrance," an original piece dedicated to the late bassist Dennis Irwin, premiered with The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra at The Village Vanguard, under her direction. Before Saturday's performance, Brown led "Stand" workshops at Reality Bites, Nyack High School and the Nyack Center to familiarize people with the words to the work, which will be printed in the program. That's key because the audience is invited to participates in the final movement. It is, says Brown, a living affirmation of "out of many, one" because the intention of the piece is to "bring us together to an uplifted state." by Emily Kratzer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Anita's editorial: Ms. Kratzer writes well. I'm very happy that she decided to write this article. The inaccuracies however were significant enough that I had to clarify: Hi Emily, Thanks for writing this article. It's very nice. I am, however, disappointed with some specifics that are not accurate as per our discussion and while I know that you can't change anything, I just feel it necessary to let you know. -The title of the piece is "Stand" The subtitle is "A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra." This verbiage was carefully selected as it is necessarily different from "A Jazz Smphony" in my vernacular. -"Her symphony will get some assistance from the U.S. Marine Corps, which is sending a unit from Newburgh led by Lt. Col. Peter Meyer. The unit will stand at attention during the entire performance." Not true. This is not what I said. They are NOT "standing at attention for the whole performance." Rather they are standing the perimeter of the Silent Drill Platoon's parade deck and assisting with other needs. This matters to me and the Marines. -"Brown has pulled together some amazing performers, as well. Among the 29 musicians and six vocalists are percussionist Lee Finkelstein of the Blues Brothers, trumpeters Staff Sgt. Josh Economy from the U.S. Military Academy Band's Jazz Knights and John Owens ("Mama Mia" and "Wicked" on Broadway)," A misquote: **20 players, 6 vocalists **Lee Finkelstein is NOT a "percussionist with the Blues Brothers," he is their "drummer." This is a huge differential. He is MY auxiliary percussionist for this event. A percussionist does not sit at a drum set. A drummer never stands up and does not play any instruments not relating to a drum set. Good to know. **Josh Economy is NOT in my band, and NEVER has been. He plays for West Point Jazz Knights and I worked with him and that entire ensemble when I did a rehearsal with them "for fun." The connection is that he & I are both graduates of UNH, Durham, NY Music Dept. There is no further professional connection. **Jon Owens does NOT play for BOTH "Wicked" & "Mama Mia." Jon Owens (spelled J-o-n, which I always spell for everyone) plays lead trumpet in Wicked. Ray Marchica, my band's regular drummer, plays in Mama Mia. Both are cited in the pdf of the print program you quoted from. The greatest disappointment is that your article does NOT discuss the Marine Corps SIlent Drill Platoon from Washington, DC or even tell the reader that they are from DC. This is an enormous big deal, the fact that THEY are coming to Nyack for THIS occasion and for THIS composer's request is enormous. The fact that they are integrated into this work and have never participated in anything like this before is also of gransiose significance. FYI. That I apparently did not communicate the grandiose significance of their participation is just an enormous disappointment. I will revisit my website and try to be sure this is communicated there. Thank you for writing this. I do appreciate it. I just have to let you know about the inaccuracies or I would be grossly remiss. Thanks again. Respectfully, Anita Brown

Nyack News & Views

Local Composer/Conductor Gets Jazzed About Summer School May 21, 2012 Nyack Jazz composer/conductor Anita Brown has been selected to participate in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute this summer. Each year the JCOI selects up to 35 jazz composers in various stages of their composing careers from a national call for applications. Brown, an accomplished jazz composer and conductor, premiered her 9/11 inspired composition and performance art, Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra, in Nyack’s Memorial Park on September 10, 2011 featuring The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. The Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute is a joint effort of the American Composers Orchestra and the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University in cooperation with The Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. In the first phase of the JCOI, participants study with renowned leading composers, conductors and performers. Under the tutelage of these composers, the participants examine aspects of writing for the symphony orchestra, one of the supreme challenges for any aspiring composer. After completing the first part of the program, participants can apply to be part of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute New Music Readings, to be held April to September 2013. The second JCOI phase includes up to 18 composers. Composers will receive coaching from mentor composers and a professional music copyist/engraver during the period they are writing their pieces; and feedback from orchestra principal musicians, conductors, librarians, and mentor composers during the readings. Brown’s credits include work as a composer, a conductor and a columnist for JazzEd magazine. In 2000 she founded the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra and independently recorded and released her debut CD 27 EAST in 2003. Brown served as conductor, contractor and executive producer of this recording which features seven of her original compositions. Since its release it has received critical acclaim and appeared in six categories on the ballot for the 46th Grammy Awards. In 2006 Brown received the ASCAP/International Jazz Composers’ Symposium New Music Award for Big Band Works for her composition, The Lighthouse. See also: Stand: A Symphony For Jazz Orchestra, AnitaBrownMusic.com

DVIDS (Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System)

Silent Drill Platoon to perform, remember Sept. 11 Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Courtesy Story Date: 08.10.2011 Posted: 08.10.2011 16:03 News ID: 75137 NYACK, N.Y. – The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon is scheduled to perform in Nyack on Sept. 10, as part of a memorial performance by a local orchestra in commemoration of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra will perform a rendition of “Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra,” an original piece of music to commemorate the events of Sept. 11. This free event is open to the public and will commence at 2 p.m. at the Nyack Memorial Park. The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon is a 24‐man rifle platoon that performs a unique precision drill exhibition. This highly disciplined platoon exemplifies the pride and professionalism associated with the United States Marine Corps. Led by platoon commander Capt. Brian J. Wilson of Columbia, S.C., platoon sergeant Staff Sgt. James N. Woolford of Union, Miss., and rifle drill inspector Cpl. Oscar Franquez, from Santa Clarita, Calif., the Marines execute a series of calculated drill movements and precise handling of their hand‐polished, 10 and one‐half pound, M‐1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets. Their routine concludes with a unique rifle inspection sequence demonstrating elaborate rifle spins and tosses. Throughout the year, these Marines perform in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators at Marine Barracks Washington and at events across the United States and abroad. Representing Marines around the world, the Silent Drill Platoon demonstrates the finest in Marine professionalism, esprit de corps, and marching precision. Nyack Memorial Park is located at Depew Ave. & Piermont Ave in Nyack. For more information on this performance, please contact Anita Brown at ABrownJazzOrch@aol.com. If you have questions about the Silent Drill Platoon, please contact the Marine Barracks Washington Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Lisa Y. Lawrence, at 202‐433‐6660 or 202‐439‐9120 or via email at lisa.lawrence@usmc.mil.

Larry Kart Reviews Previews of Stand

Larry Kart Reviews Previews of Stand Having now heard most of Anita Brown's "Stand" (in rehearsal form) I can see where the potential pitfalls for such an ambitious piece lay, and I think they need to be mentioned in order to better grasp how strikingly Brown has surmounted them. On the one hand, any musical piece that is a response to the events of 9/11 and its aftermath could be too representational -- knowing (or thinking that we know) what we already feel about those events, the music itself could seem to too directly represent those pre-existing feelings and thus would not, so to speak, stand on its own feet, musically and emotionally. On the other hand, especially given that it is a work for jazz orchestra, "Stand" might be thought to be not representational enough, might strike the listener as too caught up in familiar jazz idioms and forms of rhythmic energy to adequately express what would have to be at many points dark and deep emotional currents. But in fact (at least to my ears) "Stand" does at once represent potently Brown's subject and goes well beyond mere representation into the realm of deep and novel expression, both musically and emotionally. Listening, one comes to know and feel things about 9/11 and its aftermath that one didn't know and feel before. In particular, the musical representations (that notion again) in movement 2 of the moments when the World Trade Center was struck are much more than pictorial -- the violence and pain in the music are terrifying, but they are also IN the music and have profound MUSICAL consequences. Then in movement 3 there is a perfect example, in the wah-wah-muted trombone solo, of how a color that is familiar to most jazz listeners can become part of an act of profound mourning. Likewise with the tenor and alto saxophone solos of movement 5. It is very important for the total effect of the piece that it includes and can inspire such striking solo contributions; in effect, the individual players then "stand" for all of us, for our ability to respond. One can only imagine what "Stand" will be like when it is performed to the full satisfaction of Brown and her orchestra. But even at this point I feel sure that it is at once a major musical composition and an important landmark in the history of art that expresses what a people feels. -- Larry Kart, Author of "Jazz In Search of Itself" (Yale University Press)

Hot House Magazine

Anita has been interviewed for inclusion in Elzy Kolb's featured column, "Jazzwomen!" in the May issue of Hot House Magazine. The interview discusses aspects of Anita's new piece, "Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra," and the preview of two of its movements by Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra on May 9th at The Tea Lounge in Brooklyn, NY. Hot House has been "The New York Jazz Bible" for 29 years. We expect to see this issue later this month. Hot House Magazine is free and available at jazz venues throughout the metropolitan area, and online at this link:

The Andover Townsman

Birthday party crashers welcome For Andover alum who now conducts 17-piece jazz band By Judy Wakefield Staff Writer If summer traveling plans are bringing you in the vicinity of the Hudson River in New York on July 21, there's a 50th birthday party worth checking out. Crashers from Andover are most welcome as this party in Nyack, N.Y. has strong ties to town. And it's free admission. Anita Brown, a 1977 Andover High School graduate, is turning 50. The composer/arranger/conductor has a concert planned she hopes will also be a birthday bash that coincides with her town's jazz fest. Well known around metro New York because her 17-piece Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra band has been playing since 2000, she says some Andover music influences have stayed with her all these years. "Singing alto in many different choruses of all sizes at AHS inspired me to pay close attention to the inside voices of harmony, as the outer voices (soprano and baritone in a chorus) were always 'too easy' for me to recognize," she wrote in an e-mail. "This fueled my drive to hear the inside voices of more thickly harmonized music, including the orchestral works of Bach and Stravinsky. "As a senior, I was simply ecstatic to sing Stravinsky's 'Symphony of Psalms' with the enormous Northeastern District Chorus," she continued. "Still a great honor and since then Stravinsky has become my favorite composer." Brown, now an adjunct staff member of the faculties at Sarah Lawrence College and New Jersey City University in Jazz Composition & Arranging, also recalled playing piano during study halls at Andover High. "I was always allowed to come out of study hall and practice on one of the grand pianos in the department. I took full advantage of this privilege and also enjoyed a tremendous camaraderie with other pianists and talented instrumentalists in the department," she said. Brown lived on Gemini Circle while in town and summered at Salisbury Beach. Her dad, jazz tenor Ted Brown, is now 81 and still "giggin'," she said. It was his computer job at Malden Mills in Lawrence that brought the family to Andover in 1969. Her entire family enjoys music. Younger brother, Jeff, plays drums and mom, Phyllis, is a pianist. A new job in 1977 for Ted Brown caused the family to head for New York. But Anita Brown retains fond memories of Andover memories. "I am so grateful for having such quality people in my life during such formative years," she wrote, "...including Bobby Brown who used to tape my waist-length hair to the back of my chair in seventh grade homeroom." You can check out Brown's Web site at www.anitabrownmusic.com. part of Nyack Jazz Week Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra (Brown is a 1977 Andover High grad) Nyack, N.Y. Tuesday, July 21, 7-9 p.m. Admission is free; Bring a chair!

The Journal News

Nyack-style jazz sits in for a week BY EMILY KRATZER THE JOURNAL NEWS • JULY 14, 2008 There's jazz all over the Lower Hudson Valley this month - from a village green in New Rochelle to an international festival at Katonah's Caramoor - but from July 20 to 27, jazz fans know to go to Nyack. Pianist-composer Mike Holober put together the selections for the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, which performs Tuesday [7/22/08] at Nyack's Memorial Park. That concert features arrangements commissioned by the orchestra over the past two years. The arrangers featured are Haviland, Sussman, Mark Patterson, Scott Reeves and Anita Brown. "I arranged 'Sabiá' by Antonio Carlos Jobim, who wrote 'The Girl from Ipanema,' and did it for Jason Rigby, who is also my tenor sax player," Brown said. "He's a beautiful player and I knew he could handle the chord structure." She describes her arrangement as having a tiny fragment that repeats in a changed way, to remind the listener that a new segment is starting. "The gist of 'Sabiá' is that it's reflective and melancholy, a little dark - regarding love - and then optimistic, because it's like: 'I did this journey to learn more about myself,'" she said. Brown teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and leads the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra. In its first performance in two years, the orchestra will do two sets July 28 at Cachaça Jazz and Samba Club in Greenwich Village.

Organissmo Jazz Forums

The following has just been brought to my attention. It is an excerpt from a discussion of Maria Schneider's recent release, "Sky Blue," by one of my strongest supporters, Chicago jazz journalist and author, Larry Kart: August 8, 2007 "Not to play one woman off against another (which I don't think I'm doing), but one of the most impressive big band albums I've heard in recent years is this 2003 effort from Anita Brown, "27 East": http://ats.anitabrownmusic.com/ First, Brown (who happens to be the daughter of vaunted Tristano-ite tenor saxophonist Ted Brown and Phyllis Brown, also a onetime Tristano student) draws on the some of the same pool of NYC freelancers that Schneider does. Second, Brown's music is also fairly programmatic at times, though IMO she's one those rare composers whose language gifts are spurred by programmatic setups (references to the sea, lighthouses, etc.) rather than being illustrative of them. Finally, (again IMO) she has a much more adventurous, sharp-edged musical mind than does Schneider, plus a wider range of colors and moods. And her band plays its collective ass off for her. Check out the clips from the album (and elsewhere) on Brown's site -- the most effective in excerpt probably being "The Lighthouse" (written for Greg Gisbert) and "The Touch of You." Be sure too to click on the links in which Brown gives some background for each piece. Also, while these performances were done in the studio, they were, out of economic necessity, all complete unedited takes."

Jazz Improv Magazine's New York Jazz Guide

"In 27 EAST, Ms. Brown has created a dense, gorgeous pallette of sounds. Each piece is not just a 'riff, solo, solo, riff and close,' but a musical trip through the places, people and events that have meaning in her life. By listening to thismusic you are getting a small introduction to what it is that makes this woman tick. She has clearly chosen her musicians carefully, using those that are not just top drawer New York session men and women (which they all are), but those who also have meaning in her life and therefore can understand what she wants to convey at certain points in the music; and convey it they do..."

Anita’s "27 East" is one of the best large ensemble jazz recordings I've heard in a long while. She has her own pallete and brushstrokes. To put it another way, to really write for an orchestra, one needs to have genuine orchestral thoughts, and Anita has them. She is a composer who's bursting with stories to tell. Urgent stories, and lots of different kinds of stories too. She has a unique ear for dissonance, [and] seems to me less beholden to some of [the] models. She has swallowed and legitimately incorporated her influences and sounds only like herself.

Jazz Education Journal, Vol. 37, #4, January 2005

Anita Brown's debut recording makes a resounding statement of the wholesomely vital values of big band writing and performance. [Her] giftedness is channeled into her soulful music with strongly perceptible values... Carving out new growth paths...she smoothly weds substance with inspiration and passion, thus fashioning beautiful music. Anita Brown serves serious notice with her maiden voyage orchestra...[and] her unquestioned position of firm strength and resonant originality."

DownBeat Magazine, December 2004

“Disarming charts... reveal myriad details of subtle wit and flexible spirit...using brass with the acumen and majesty of Johnny Richards...and wave-like riffs that break into Mingus-like backbeat.”

All About Jazz

Anita Brown’s terrific first CD, ‘27 EAST’ [was] produced without interference or compromise. Watching her conduct her ABJO performing her own music is to witness joy in its purest form...a journey full of power, depth and imagination."

Mainly Big Bands

“This superior album should be treated as a major event within the big band firmament... This is a major work that will transcend any doubts one may have about contemporary big band writing and performance.”

"This CD is so good! I'm enjoying it and hear new things every day."

“[Anita] is better than she thinks she is. I would like to help her in any way I can.”

“Anita’s compositions are marvelous tone poems...and the band brought them off beautifully. Serious, beautiful writing and a wonderful group. [This] band is in the same category [as] the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Maria Schneider.”

"This new recording by Anita Brown has been a long time in coming and it is truly worth the wait!! Anita has the ability to write music from the soul and for the soul. Get this CD, you'll love it! Guaranteed!" --

All About Jazz

“[Anita] couldn’t have arranged a more impressive coming-out party... aided and abetted on 27 EAST by a blue-chip New York-based ensemble...”

Top 10, Jazz House

“Inventive big band writing by the leader and a solid band from NY area.”

bmi.com & Jazz Education Journal, Vol.37, #1, April 2004

“Anita Brown, may not be as familiar to the average modern jazz aficionado. But her album, 27 EAST, was one of the most engaging new discs released in 2003.” --

"The debut CD of the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra fills me with hope and lifts my spirit. Her skills as an arranger and bandleader convince me that the future for big bands is in good hands!!” --

“Anita put an enormous amount of energy into this project, and it really paid off! The atmosphere in the studio was intensely focused, yet full of the joy which comes when really talented people are doing really good work, and loving every minute of it. I was very glad to be a part of this recording."

"Everything about '27 EAST' is so great. [Anita] seems to have captured every feeling [she] was inspired by."

WNTI, 91.9 FM, Hackettstown, NJ

"Wonderful. A beautifully evocative record! I love it. Gorgeous textures, color, and tones."

Montauk Life, September 2003

“Innovative, original jazz...”

The Wire

Others to come along over the next three decades included the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, the Bob Florence Orchestra and the Bob Mintzer Big Band. Recently emerging bands on the scene today include Boston’s Greg Hopkins Jazz Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Heritage Orchestra of the Mid-West. Brown is a graduate of UNH who has been developing her band in New York over the past several years.

The Andover Townsman

"Brown received the 'most musical' superlative for her graduating class, and also plucked the lone music scholarship. Now she can only sigh when told of music program cutbacks."

Arts Council of Rockland

Arts Council of Rockland Grant Announcements "Hillcrest Elementary and Anita Brown for "Let's Compose!"...