Jazz trumpeter Brownman Ali headlines a special performance with his band

Jazz trumpeter Brownman Ali headlines a special performance with his band

A-list trumpeter guides journey through jazz

  • Mar. 23, 2011 11:00 a.m.

Doug Grant

Contributed to the Morning Star

When does music begin and end for you? Is there a time when music was better than other times?

Trumpeter Nick Ali, born on the small Caribbean island of Trinidad, but now a Canadian known as Brownman, brings his trio to Vernon to take us on a journey through jazz history.

What the group often does is start playing acoustically,  playing standards such as Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll in a straight-ahead swing manner, then moves forward to perhaps a Joe Henderson piece from the ‘60s, and slowly over the course of the show makes its way to electric and funkified applications.

It’s one of the traits that separates this electric-jazz outfit from others: its clear understanding of the lineage.

Brownman has been quoted several times, saying “you have to know where you’ve been, in order to know where you’re going.”

In the spirit of supreme genre-crossing trumpet visionaries such as Miles Davis and Randy Brecker, Brownman tirelessly leads and composes, making him one of Canada’s most decorated jazz artists, highly in demand for recording sessions and concerts, with more than 300 recording credits and more than 4,000 live appearances to his name.

Combining new techniques and insouciant collages like Miles Davis might, if only he still could, Brownman attracted much attention when he took over the trumpet chair for the legendary Donald Byrd, playing with rapper/ artist Guru and Jazzamatazz.

Brownman has not only great talent and abilities, but is very well liked and respected by musicians and fans alike. He has won the Canadian National Jazz Award for Composer of The Year, and the GM Grand Prix du Jazz.

One of the preeminent bands in Canadian jazz today, the Brownman Electryc Trio features Brownman on trumpet, Tyler Emond on bass, and Chris Lamont on drums.

For their first ever Vernon Jazz Club performance, the band will start with Gershwin’s A Foggy Day, Henderson’s Bye Bye Blackbird and Ellington’s classic Take the A-Train, played in a straight-ahead swing manner, popularized in the ‘30s and ‘40s.

The trio will then move forward through the ‘50s and ‘60s to play standards such as If I Were a Bell and There Will Never Be Another You as Miles Davis would have during his classic Columbia years.

Entering the ‘70s and ‘80s, Brownman will switch to electric trumpet, and  Emond to electric bass, for the fusion era until they arrive in the 21st century to generate pure New York hip-hop and U.K.-originated drum ‘n’ bass grooves, with improvised jazz solos over top with the use of be-bop language as the vehicle for improvisation.

The Brownman Electryc Trio takes the stage Tuesday, April 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($15 for jazz society members) at the Bean Scene and Bean to Cup.

–– Doug Grant is a local jazz drummer and member of the Vernon Jazz Society.