Bassist John Brown’s Quiet Time, recorded back in August of 2007, is scheduled for special release on Valentine’s Day 2014–it was previously released in 2012. The 10-tune set is an hour and a quarter of jazz music filled with gorgeous sounds. There are familiar pieces; there are some less well-known numbers. Familiar or unfamiliar, each and every one is a lyrical gem, just right for a romantic evening in front of a fireplace for those into sentiment and cliché, and not bad listening for the more cynical among us.
Brown leads a tight quintet featuring Ray Codrington on trumpet and flugelhorn, Brian Miller on saxophones, Gabe Evens on piano, and Adonis Rose on drums. They open with an intense rendition of “Come Live with Me,” a song associated with Ray Charles, and one that sets the tone for the entire album: introspective soulful solo work laid over a solid rhythmic foundation. Next is the title song, a John Brown original that puts me in mind of “My Funny Valentine,” and it’s more tender than soulful. The other original piece on the disc is Evens’ “Lost,” which features the pianist and Miller on alto.
There is a touch of New Orleans with Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “. . . and the Willow Weeps,” a bit of the California coast with Gerald Wilson’s “Theme for Monterey,” and a nod to the exotic with “A Lullaby of Itsugo Village,” which is an Elvin Jones composition based on a Japanese folk song. Oscar Peterson’s “When Summer Comes” and the standard “You Don’t Know What Love Is” highlight well-earned solo opportunities for the leader’s bass. They conclude the set with James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.”
Song for song, the album focuses laser-like on its theme, one characterized by Brown’s comment in the liner notes: “It is in the moments when we allow ourselves to sit still and hear quiet that we find our inner voices, our inner passion, our inner strength, our inner selves.”