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MP3 Anthony Brown's Orchestra - Rhapsodies

Big Band/World Fusion Jazz blending Asian instruments with jazz orchestra sonorities and improvisation.

14 MP3 Songs in this album (54:52) !
Related styles: Jazz: Experimental Big Band, World: World Fusion, Type: Instrumental

People who are interested in Charles Mingus Charlie Haden Duke Ellington should consider this download.


1. Prelude to The Legacy Codes (Anthony Brown) 1:18
2. Bread & Bowie [For Lester] (A. Brown, trad. arr. Brown) 6:21*
3. Self Portrait in Three Colors (Charles Mingus) 3:17
Rhapsody In Blue/American Rhapsodies (Gershwin-Brown) (total 19:02)
4. Exposition 5:15
5. Rumba/Recap 3:07
6. Gagaku 1:21
7. Scherzando 2:27
8. Andantino/Adagio 3:47
9. Taiko Trane/Finale 3:01
10. Take Me Out to the Ball Game (Norworth, Tilzer, arr. M. Izu) :42
11. Tang (Duke Ellington) 8:05
12. Come Sunday (Duke Ellington) 5:25*
13. Anthem/Baile de Orisha (A. Brown) 9:17
14. Rhymes (For Children) (A. Brown) (Pacific Time theme music, PRI) 1:09

All arrangements by Anthony Brown except as noted.
(1, 2, 13, 14: Nikoku Music, ASCAP; 3: Jazz Workshop, Inc.; 4-9: WB Music Corp. and Nikoku Music, ASCAP; 10: PD; 11: Tempo Music, Inc.; 12: G. Schirmer, Inc.)

Produced by Anthony Brown.

Recorded January 16-19, 2005 @ Coast Recorders, SF, CA. Recorded and Mastered by Paul Stubblebine, assisted by Oliver Bradley and Lu Miranda. Tracks 1 and 14 recorded February 22 and September 15, 2003 @ Big Hut Recording, Berkeley, CA. Recorded by Bruce Buchanan, Robert Berenson and Mary Ann Zahorsky (14). Art direction by Anthony Brown, design and graphics by David Belove. All photos by Andy Nozaka unless otherwise noted.


Anthony Brown-conductor, drumset, percussion, waterphone
Will Bernard-electric guitar
Danny Bittker-bass clarinet, steel drums
Georgia Brown-Western, Asian, African percussion
Louis Fasman-trumpet, fluegelhorn
Henry Hung-trumpet, fluegelhorn
Mark Izu-bass, Chinese mouth organ (sheng)
Masaru Koga-tenor saxophone, Japanese flute (shakuhachi)
Melecio Magdaluyo-baritone and alto saxophones, flute, cajón (Cuban box drum)
Dave Martell-trombone, tuba
Marcia Miget-flute, soprano and tenor saxophones
Jim Norton-clarinet, soprano sax (13), bassoon, contra alto clarinet, contra bassoon
Wayne Wallace-trombone
Hong Wang-Chinese mouth organ, flute (dizi), violin (erhu), reed trumpet (suona)
Yangqin Zhao-Chinese hammered dulcimer (yangqin)

Special Guests:
*David Murray-tenor saxophone (2), bass clarinet (12)
Gangqin Zhao- Chinese harp zither (gu-zheng) (1), Chinese hammered dulcimer (4-6, 8,9)
Frank Martin-piano (12)
Kash Killion-cello (1)


Completing Anthony Brown''s trilogy of homages to American composers, RHAPSODIES features a new version of George Gershwin''s Rhapsody In Blue with electric guitar, Chinese hammered dulcimers and steel drums replacing the piano. Also featured are Charles Mingus'' Self Portrait In Three Colors, Duke Ellington''s Come Sunday showcasing David Murray on bass clarinet, and several original compositions by Dr. Brown.


"Some 80 years after Gershwin first brought jazz into the concert hall, Brown is attempting something equally ambitious-inviting the world into Gershwin''s soaring rhapsody."
Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News, July 2, 2004

"Brown''s band, which mixes Chinese and jazz instruments with a raw, Charles Mingus-like energy, delivered a terrific program of new works and re-compositions of American classics by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and George Gershwin."
Paul de Barros, Seattle Times, September 21, 2004 (review of 2004 Monterey Jazz Festival)

"One of the hits of the 2004 Monterey Jazz Festival was a performance by an unusual orchestra led by drummer Anthony Brown that mixed together both Western and Asian instruments. Their version of "Rhapsody In Blue" was quite unique and earned a standing ovation.

RHAPSODIES (Water Baby Records) has the 19-minute version of "Rhapsody In Blue" plus reworkings of Charles Mingus'' "Self Portrait In Three Colors," "Come Sunday," a brief "Take Me Out To The Ball Game," "Tang" (from Duke Ellington''s Afro-Eurasian Eclipse) plus four of Brown''s colorful originals (including a tribute to Lester Bowie called "Bread & Bowie"). While the repertoire is wide-ranging, look at the instrumentation: two trumpets, two trombonists (one doubling on tuba), four saxophonists (who also play such reeds as shakuhachi, contra bassoon and contra alto clarinet), a bass clarinetist doubling on steel drums, guitar, Mark Izu on bass and the Chinese mouth organ, percussion, Hong Wong on Chinese mouth organ, dizi, erhu and suona, Yangqin Zhao on a Chinese hammered dulcimer, Gangqin Zhao on Chinese harp zither and also Chinese hammered dulcimer, and drummer Brown. David Murray also guests on two songs on tenor and bass clarinet.

The unique RHAPSODIES, one of the most colorful recordings to be released in 2005, features a new type of jazz big band. Highly recommended and available from https://www.tradebit.com."
Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene, February 2006

"Listening to his children’s collection of
Disney tunes, Dave Brubeck was inspired to
perform and eventually record songs from
some of that studio’s animated classics. The
Disney influence reached into the jazz world
three-and-a-half decades later in drummerbandleader
Anthony Brown’s Berkeley, Calif.,

“My daughter, Georgia, was watching
Fantasia 2000. When the ‘Rhapsody In Blue’
segment came on, it was introduced by Quincy
Jones,” Brown said.

Brown, an associate scholar at the
Smithsonian Institution, knew Jones through
work at the Institute. “We had been talking
recently on the phone, and then a day or two
later he’s on the TV. Georgia runs up and says,
‘Daddy! Quincy’s on TV!’”

As Brown sat down to watch the segment
based around one of Gershwin’s signature
pieces, the high school-era artist in Brown first
took over. His current musical and scholarly
thoughts quickly chimed in.

“I was watching the images, and thinking
that’s not the way I had visualized what would
be going on with the music,” he said. “Then I
was listening to the orchestration. I thought,
‘Not only would I have not done the visuals
that way, I wouldn’t have done the orchestral
coloring that way, either.’”

That viewing of Fantasia 2000 planted the
seeds to Brown’s own interpretation of the
work with his orchestra, which features traditional
Asian instruments such the ehru (twostring
Chinese violin) and suona (Chinese
trumpet) as well as standard jazz ones. The
eventual “Rhapsody In Blue/American
Rhapsodies” recomposition became the centerpiece
of his Orchestra’s latest album,
Rhapsodies (Water Baby Records).

Rhapsodies is the third of a trilogy of
Anthony Brown Orchestra recordings dedicated
to interpreting the works of three great
American composers through an Asian-
American musical prism. Far East Suite, from
1999, received a Grammy nomination for Best
Large Jazz Ensemble Album for its distinct
take on the Ellington–Strayhorn masterpiece.
Featuring the late Steve Lacy, Monk’s Mood
was released in 2002 and visited 10 Monk
tunes with a distinct Brown flavor.

“When I was listening to ‘Rhapsody’ with
my daughter, I felt this is a chance to do something
with it for two reasons: one, because it’s
indelibly linked to the American cultural fabric.
Secondly, Gershwin never orchestrated his
piece,” Brown said.

“Gershwin himself described his original
intent was to capture the kaleidoscopic demography
of America,“ Brown said about the origins
behind his own globally colored reading
of “Rhapsody.”

“After reading that, it sparked in my mind
that his kaleidoscope was black and white. It
was pretty monochromatic. That’s probably all
he knew. If this is so inextricable from
American culture, why not make it truly reflective
of America today?”

He’s included rumba, gagaku, taiko and
hard swinging sections. Marcia Miget’s
shakuhachi (Japanese flute) is a featured instrument,
as is Will Bernard’s electric guitar. “It’s
an instrument that is truly American,” Brown
said, with a chuckle, “versus piano.”

Just as Gershwin wrote “Rhapsody” from
his Manhattan perspective in the first quarter of
the 20th century, Brown brought his San
Francisco Bay Area-based cosmopolitan view
to his six-part recomposition. The son of an
American serviceman father and a Japanese
mother, Brown worked his way up to army
captain before earning a master’s in music
from both Rutgers and the University of
California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology
from the latter.

The 52-year-old drummer and percussionist
has been part of the Bay Area Asian-American
jazz scene since the 1980s and continues to
keep “one foot in the academic world and the
other in performance and composition.” As he
lines up performance dates around the
Rhapsodies recording, he’s also working on
updating his book Give the Drummer Some!,
an academic look into jazz drumming that is
due out in 2007." —Yoshi Kato, DOWNBEAT, March 2006


Prelude to The Legacy Codes (1:18) The musical score for The Legacy Codes was commissioned in 2003 by TheatreWorks for a fictionalized dramatization of the 1999 framing of Tawainese-American nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee by the FBI. Playwright Cherylene Lee asked if I could compose an introductory piece combining Chinese and American musical elements that would later be choreographed for three couples. I replied, “No problem.” Producer Amy Gonzales stated that Wen Ho Lee loved classical music, especially Bach, and could I include something “baroque-ish.” I thought I could thread the piece together with fugal counterpoint and said, “I’d love to.” Then she stated, “Oh, the piece should be about a minute long.” “Ooooo,” I said--they cut the wonderful saxophone cadenza by Marcia Miget for the show.

Bread & Bowie [For Lester] (6:21) This tripartite composition was commissioned by Jazz In Flight for their Celebrating the Spirit of Lester Bowie program of the 12th Annual Eddie Moore Jazz Festival at Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA. Percussionist Don Moye and Bob Stewart on tuba joined the Asian American Orchestra in an unforgettable night of joyful noise, song and drums, broadcast live on KPFA-FM, on August 13, 2001. Lester Bowie personified the fundamental characteristics of the collective motto, “Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future”- heart and soul, humor and intelligence. In his mercurial majesty, with his trumpet and in his research lab coat onstage with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Brass Fantasy, he reigned as the heir to the legacy of the Trickster, the Eshu-Elegba-Eleggua figure of post-modern jazz. This recording features the indomitable David Murray’s signature tenor madness. (Trombone solo: Wayne Wallace)

Self Portrait in Three Colors (3:17) The original 1959 recording by Charles Mingus served as the inspiration for this rendition: the composition is through-composed with no solo features. The melody is repeated three times, each repetition adds instruments and a new accompanying theme. This is dedicated to James Newton and Red Callendar, who provided me the direct link back to the Baron and the legacy of Central Avenue, Los Angeles, wellspring of 1950’s jazz innovators including, Dexter Gordon, Teddy Edwards, Sonny Criss, Chico Hamilton, Hampton Hawes, Buddy Collette, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Eric Dolphy, Billy Higgins, Howard McGee, Red Mitchell, Horace Tapscott, and many others.

Rhapsody In Blue/American Rhapsodies (19:02) In his “American Rhapsody,” George Gershwin intended to mirror the tenor of his times and a progressive attitude toward race relations in a musical vision blending the styles he knew best: European and African American. Gershwin wrote Rhapsody In Blue, the final name for his new work, to be premiered by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra on Abraham Lincoln’s 115th birthday, February 12, 1924 in New York City. In 2005, Gershwin’s classic portrait is recast in American Rhapsodies as a 21st century mural of our world’s demographic mosaic, particularly as reflected in the San Francisco Bay Area, “Golden Gateway to the East.” (Clarinet: Jim Norton, guitar: Will Bernard, flute: Marcia Miget, Japanese flute (shakuhachi): Mas Koga, trumpet: Henry Hung)

Take Me Out to the Ball Game (:42) The all-American song is performed by Mark Izu on the Chinese mouth organ, the sheng, the 2000 year old great, great, great . . . grandparent of the harmonica.

Tang (8:05) Duke Ellington’s extended suite, Afro-Eurasian Eclipse, was inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s claim in his seminal book, The Medium is the Massage, that “the whole world is going oriental.” During China’s 8th century Tang Dynasty, the Silk Road flourished, linking East and West as the “ancient information super highway.” (Tenor sax solo: Mas Koga, baritone sax: Mel Magdaluyo)

Come Sunday (5:25) Of the over two thousand compositions written by Duke Ellington, Come Sunday is my favorite. The 1958 recording of Mahalia Jackson performing this spiritual served as the model. Hong Wang’s plaintive 2-string Chinese violin (erhu), coupled with David Murray’s inspirited bass clarinet performance creates a duet in contrast like no other. The horn backgrounds, voiced in simulation of a choir, are adapted from Billy Strayhorn’s transcendent arrangement for the Ellington Orchestra.

Anthem/Baile de la Orisha (9:17) Anthem is the finale of Mô, Shimasen! (Never Again!), an extended work commissioned in 1995 by the Asian Heritage Council to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The first bars of the melody were inspired by the folk theme in the fourth movement of the Concerto For Orchestra by Bela Bartók. The contrasting middle section, Baile de la Orisha, is from another extended composition, Incantation Suite, originally commissioned by the San Francisco Chamber Music Society in 1983. (Flute solo: Mel Magdaluyo, soprano sax: Jim Norton)

Rhymes (For Children) (1:09) This arrangement was recorded to serve as the theme music for Pacific Time, a syndicated weekly newsmagazine heard coast to coast on National Public Radio. Rhymes is originally from an extended work, E.O. 9066, about the Japanese American internment experience of WWII, commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1996, in collaboration with San Jose Taiko Group.

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