Sunday, July 14, 2019


Jazz Bassist Miles Brown

For eight years, the jazz bassist Miles Brown ran the jazz studies program at Oakland University. During that stretch he also became a key figure on Detroit’s jazz scene, performing with heavies such as Sean Dobbin, Scott Gwinnell, and Mike Jellick. Brown moved to Baltimore, but before the move, he gifted the scene with a wonderful jazz album out last month on the Detroit Music Factory label titled “Evidence of Soul and Body,” which since its debut has been on rotation on jazz stations nationwide. Over the weekend, Brown officially celebrated the release of the album with a four-night residency at Detroit’s Dirty Dog Jazz Café. People hip to the album was able to experience the music – a mix of familiar standards and originals from Miles’s pen and his dad’s guitarist Steve Brown – live. The set Saturday evening and the recording have very similar feels. I left the concert believing I’d made a smart choice investing a piece of my life listening to an hour- plus of prime choice jazz. I felt the same after hearing to the album for the first time. Brown is a pristine bassist. When he plays the bass, he doesn’t just lean it against his shoulder and pluck away at the strings. He literally dances with the bass as if it’s a prom date. For the project, he assembled equally gifted jazz musicians such as pianist Scott Gwinnell, drummer Sean Dobbins, saxophonist Andrew Bishop, and guitarist Steve Brown. The concert opened with the senior Brown’s “Two Birds One Stone,” a modernized twist on the standard “Bye Bye Black Bird”. Brown simply infused the standard with a hipper melody. It was a strong start to a concert that never lost any momentum. Brown didn’t perform every cut on the album just the ones that gave the album its charisma “Three and One,” ”Blues for Joaquin,” ‘Like Dave,” and the closer “Sonny’s Hustle”. Every performance was a highpoint or a mini-concert in itself. Brown’s dad Steve served up a handful of memorable solos and his old-school elegance was the linchpin. Dobbins was colorful as always with semi-automatic like rim shots, and Bishop displayed throughout the concert world-class tenor play, the kind of cheek and bone blowing that required years to perfect and that’s hard to come by these days. The four-night celebration was a fitting way to formally introduce a bonafide jazz album to the public.