What People Are Saying About Derek Brown
NPR's Weekend Edition
"When you listen to Derek Brown play the sax, you figure this guy has got to be using all kinds of loops and overdubs and electronic pyrotechnics. And then when you figure out it's just him playing live, it is a little bit hard to fathom."
"One man bands are something of a novelty: some guy with a half a dozen instruments (or more)—guitar, drums, harmonica—affixed to his body in various ways. Saxophonist Derek Brown blows the one man band route with just the saxophone. . . Quite amazing, and surprisingly engaging."
"Truly amazing and creative. Honestly, the epitome of creativity."
"Brown shows that he has more than technique pulling these pyrotechnics off without electronics, overdubs or any assistants. Utterly nutty, ground breaking stuff, this forward into the past effort is a mind blower that any jazzbo will ponder with amazement. A wild breath of fresh air from out of the ordinary, wrap your mind around this and it'll never be the same. Check it out."
“Why hire a full band of musicians when you can create the entire band yourself – on a saxophone! What Derek Brown accomplishes on his album Beatbox Sax is incredible. . . This is a fun album!”
Vinnytsia Jazz Festival review
"But without a doubt, a revelation of the second day of the festival was the incredible saxophone virtuoso. . . Derek Brown of the United States"
Chuck Surack, founder and president of Sweetwater Sound
"Coltrane, Getz, Boots, Desmond, Parker…The great saxophone masters… and they all had a sound or voice of their own. Derek has pioneered and created his own unique voice on the saxophone. This is so hard to do today since there have been so many saxophone masters through the years. I consider Derek a modern master!"
Steve Neff, neffmusic.com
“This Guy Blows My Mind… While most of us mere mortals are just trying to figure out how to play the sax the normal way (or should I say the way that is most “common”), Derek is one of those rare individuals that is breaking new ground with the saxophone.”
Album review by Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian
"This is a remarkable CD by tenor-saxophonist Derek Brown. He performs unaccompanied solos that occasionally make one recall Bobby McFerrin in his early prime and the great saxophonist Eddie Harris. The Chicago-based musician has developed phenomenal technique on the saxophone that lets him become a one-man band without using any overdubbing.
Brown utilizes slap-tonguing, circular breathing, a wide interest in musical styles and dazzling coordination to create rather unique music. When one thinks of unaccompanied saxophone recordings, it is usually of avant-garde players engaging in sound explorations. However Brown embraces both melodies and catchy rhythms to create music that is quite accessible yet almost impossible to imagine being performed. Like Bobby McFerrin, who could sound like three singers at once during his solo concerts, Brown takes care of the melody, harmonies and rhythms simultaneously. He alternates between notes and percussive clicking sounds with occasional honks and roars. And as if that is not enough of a challenge, on a few of the numbers he also sings while making rhythms on his sax both with his hand and by jumping back on the horn between words. Somehow he manages to sound relaxed while doing all of this, sounding natural and never gimmicky. How does he manage to create so many parts without getting lost?
Beatbox Sax (Brown’s term for his concept) has 14 performances that range from funky originals to “I Got Rhythm,” Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1” and “Air On The G String,” “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” “Chameleon,” “Stand By Me” and even Justin Bieber’s “Baby” (which he turns into a complex rhythmic vamp).
To see Derek Brown performing a few of these songs, look at his clips on You Tube, especially “Stand By Me.” While he does not sound like either of them, one can certainly imagine Eddie Harris and Rahsaan Roland Kirk loving this highly recommended recording."
Jim Cheek, director of sax.co.uk Sussex, the world’s largest sax store
"We are thrilled to say that we enjoyed a really successful Masterclass by Derek Brown two nights ago. He was absolutely superb and completely lived up to expectation. He delivered a structured presentation, really breaking down his thinking behind his array of special techniques in an entertaining and enthusiastic style – completely appealing and compelling viewing!"
Miles Osland, Director of Jazz Studies and Saxophone, University of Kentucky
"Derek’s performance and master class were incredibly inspiring for my students and myself! His insight into his unique approach of performance practices is very thoughtful and informative."
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