The John Brown Quintet | Merry Christmas, Baby

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Holiday: Jazz Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Mood: Christmas
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Merry Christmas, Baby

by The John Brown Quintet

Creating a nice mix of hard driving, bebop-influenced swing, and straight-ahead jazz, this recording has fresh approaches to classic Christmas tunes and pleases all of the senses of the traditional jazz lover.
Genre: Holiday: Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
4:25 $0.99
2. Merry Christmas, Baby
5:02 $0.99
3. Frosty, the Snowman
2:56 $0.99
4. Christmas Time Is Here
4:48 $0.99
5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
4:10 $0.99
6. Let It Snow
3:33 $0.99
7. The Christmas Song
6:10 $0.99
8. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
5:04 $0.99
9. I'll Be Home for Christmas
4:50 $0.99
10. Winter Wonderland
4:18 $0.99
11. Happy Birthday, Jesus
5:58 $0.99
12. Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer
6:54 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

This recording is the NUMBER ONE most added album on JazzWeek (the NATIONAL Jazz radio reporting service) this week!!!

For more information, Contact:
Mantra Public Relations
Gaye Carleton or Adri Cowan

A New Jazz Twist to the Holiday Classics:
The John Brown Quintet
Releases Merry Christmas, Baby
- Straight-ahead Jazz with the Honeyed Vocals of Ray Codrington -

New York, NY – November 6, 2007 – Christmas classics are reimagined in the capable hands of straight-ahead jazz masters on Merry Christmas, Baby, the latest CD from the Durham-based John Brown Quintet. The upbeat rhythms and winding improv solos glide in and around trumpeter Ray Codrington’s smooth vocals on a CD that would enliven any tree-trimming party. “Frosty, the Snowman,” “Let It Snow, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and nine other tunes evoke the traditional Christmas season and spirit. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is all instrumental.

“These are some of the Christmas songs I grew up listening to as a kid. They’re part of the fabric that defines Christmas,” bandleader John Brown says from his office at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he is director of Duke’s Jazz Program. “These twelve songs emerged as the ones where we could add the most impact to the Christmas jazz repertoire.”

The improvisational dialogue in the solo spaces on Merry Christmas, Baby is what, to Brown’s mind, distinguishes the songs from contemporary jazz or other versions of the songs. “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” a song that may be new to listeners, the quintet decided to play as a straight-ahead jazz ballad. It is particularly meaningful for Codrington because one of his twin sons used to sing the song in his church choir as a child. The son died from a brain aneurism when he was thirty years old. To Brown, “That song resonates with Ray’s voice. There’s something for everyone in here.”

Brown’s aim with this new offering of Christmas jazz is simple: “To make you feel good. Christmas is a time to promote peace and well-being regardless of religion.”

For jazz lovers and Christmas music enthusiasts alike, Merry Christmas, Baby makes the perfect soundtrack for holiday entertaining on a snowy evening in December.

About John Brown

John V. Brown, Jr., leader of the John Brown Quintet and double bass player, is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. John began studying the bass with Susan Ellington when he was nine years old and has been performing professionally since his teens.

“I was always surrounded by music when I was young, and I especially loved my mother’s playing,” John says from his home in Durham, North Carolina. His mother plays the piano, and he remembers being inspired to take up the bass after watching the Duke Ellington Orchestra perform on television. Beginning with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra at thirteen, he filled the role of Principal Bass with that orchestra while still in high school. John studied with Craig Brown and John Cubbage of the North Carolina Symphony and with Daniel Swaim and Pam Andrews at Brevard Music Center in the summer of 1987. At UNC-Greensboro he studied with Jack Budrow, and while still an undergraduate, he began performing with the North Carolina Symphony. In college, John developed a great love for jazz and began pursuing careers in both jazz and classical music. He honed his skills over the next dozen years, performing the world over, and in 2004 formed the John Brown Quintet.

John has performed in the United States and abroad with artists Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Diahann Carroll, Nell Carter, Rosemary Clooney, Lou Donaldson, Frank Foster, David "Fathead" Newman, Nicholas Payton, Cedar Walton, Fred Wesley, Mark Whitfield and Nnenna Freelon, and he boasts a Grammy nomination for his performance and cowriting on Nnenna Freelon's 1996 Concord release, Shaking Free. His extensive experience includes performances at notable venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, the Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl, as well as major jazz festivals including the Playboy Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival and Jazz à Vienne.

Equally gifted in other areas of performance, John has acted in major theater productions, among them the Japan tour of Blues in the Night with Roz Ryan and Freda Payne, shows at the National Black Theater Festival, the Broadway Series South and off-Broadway performances. John made his acting debut in 1991 when he costarred in the role of Jimmy Powers (rewritten for John as a bassist) in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill at the Broach Theatre and performed in the same show (as the performing bassist) with Jackee Harry. On the big screen, John appeared in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Stompin' at the Savoy, Radioland Murders, Hellraiser III and Bolden, due out in theaters in 2008. Among John's recording credits is the soundtrack for Moon over Miami for ABC, done with Delfeayo Marsalis.

John currently serves as a professor and director of the Jazz Program at Duke University. He conducts the Duke Jazz Ensemble, coaches jazz combos and teaches academic courses. He also teaches applied bass at North Carolina State University and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his other responsibilities have included conducting jazz bands, coaching jazz combos and conducting orchestra sectionals. Prior to his current positions, John taught at North Carolina Central University and Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C. John maintains a very active performing and recording life with the John Brown Quintet and regular performances with the North Carolina Symphony, the Opera Company of North Carolina and the Carolina Ballet. John also conducts the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble for high school students across the North Carolina Triangle.

John plays a 1929 Hawkes double bass that he purchased in 1992 from veteran musician and jazz bassist Charles Dungey. John officially endorses Acoustic Image amplifiers, AMT microphones, Pirastro Strings and Warwick basses, amplifiers and loudspeakers.

John serves on the Boards of Directors of the American Federation of Musicians, the North Carolina Jazz Foundation and the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM).

RAY CODRINGTON, who plays trumpet in the quintet, is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, as is Brown, and a graduate of Howard University. He has performed and recorded with Eddie Harris, the JFK Quintet, Larry Willis, Hugo Montenegro, David “Fathead” Newman, Billy Higgins, Lenny Marcus and others. Headlining bands of his own in his nearly fifty-year career, he has performed at the famed Apollo Theater in New York, the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C., and festivals and clubs up and down the East Coast. Ray has also served as an adjunct professor at East Carolina University and remains in high demand among musicians in the Southeastern United States.

Saxophonist BRIAN MILLER is a native of Kinston, North Carolina, and graduate of North Carolina Central University. Brian was first exposed to music at his church and developed a strong passion for music at an early age. By the time he graduated from high school, he played saxophone, tuba, trumpet, bass clarinet and valve trombone. While a student at NCCU, he worked with jazz artists Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Maceo Parker, Grady Tate and Nicholas Payton, and played at the Montreux Jazz Festival and Jazz à Vienne. Brian performed with the NCCU Jazz Band twice at the White House for President Bill Clinton; the band has also recorded his original composition “Desmond Street.” Since graduating from NCCU, Brian has performed with Tom Browne at Blues Alley and the John Brown Quintet. Brian is also the youngest member of the quintet.

GABE EVENS, on piano, is a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Evens is also a composer and former bandleader of the Gabe Evens Trio, with two CDs out, Mobius and Connection. Wherever Evens is living, he is consistently sought out by top jazz musicians and has performed extensively in North Carolina, New England and Spain with artists such as Nnenna Freelon, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Carlos Deleon (former member of the Tito Puente band), Lois Deloatch and many others. He is currently engaged in graduate studies at the University of Miami.

Drummer ADONIS ROSE came up in the New Orleans jazz scene. After Katrina, he moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and joined the John Brown Quintet in 2007. While still in his early twenties, he began playing with the likes of Nicolas Payton, Roland Guerin, Irvin Mayfield, Derek Douget and former Jazz Messenger Donald Harrison, Sr. As a member of Nicolas Payton’s quintet, Rose played on Payton’s Place, Nick@Night and Dear Louis. He can also be heard on Donald Harrison’s Spirits of Congo Square, Derek Douget’s Perpetual Motion and Irvin Mayfield’s self-titled CD. With various musicians, Rose has played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and New Orleans jazz meccas Snug Harbor, the Funky Butt and Donna's Bar & Grill.

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Peter Osborn

Merry Christmas Baby
Brilliant CD it really swings!

stacy Brancazio

Merry Christmas Baby
Light and Spirited....Unique and refreshing....
a good flavor of Christmas. Will enjoy it every