Brothers John and Ben Britton have put together quite the group for their debut, Uncertain Living, and there’s an awful lot to like about their brand of creative modern jazz.
John plays trumpet and Ben plays saxophone on this release and their interplay is well worth more than just a few repeat spins. Filled with spunk, texture and fun, the Britton Brothers Band manages to pay homage to its roots in jazz and swing while still pushing forward into new territory.
Pianist Jeremy Siskind, bassist Taylor Waugh and drummer Austin Walker round out the group nicely, while tenor sax legend Chris Potter lends his skills for a couple of tracks.
Ben and John both started playing piano at a young age and developed an early love for jazz. Both also attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and continue to educate themselves in the ways of jazz. Ben is currently working towards his Masters degree at the Manhattan School of Music and John is studying at the Eastman School of Music.
Uncertain Living really is the culmination of an education and a background in jazz. The foundation is sophisticated and succinct, even disciplined, but Ben and John both play with such soul that it helps the pieces seep outside the borders when necessary.
Album opener “Extra Fuzz” is built entirely on Walker and Waugh’s funky groundwork, but the Britton Brothers’ ability to build on the groove is really what pulls this song out into the sunshine. With clean, structured playing, Ben and John open the piece up and let it breathe before Walker knocks out one heck of a drum solo.
“Molo” is a treat with its winding bebop patches and swing feel. Composed by Ben, this piece is an exercise in build and timing.
“Ducks in a Row” closes the record out stylishly. Potter’s sax playing is impeccable here and the rest of the band blends competently with his dynamic tones. It is an exuberant track and probably best exemplifies the Britton Brothers Band at the heights of their combined energies.
Uncertain Living is a robust, flavourful debut for the Britton Brothers Band. Blessed with instrumental command, timing and creativity, Ben and John prove their spirit and talent in a tentative world.