Half Notes: The Britton Brothers Band – Uncertain Living (2010)

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by S. Victor Aaron

Bands led by horn players tend to work well if there’s a lot of rapport between the horn players. That’s not an issue for The Britton Brothers Band, whose trumpet player (John) and saxophonist (Ben) have the same parents. For this debut, these young cats built a band of other young up and comers, like Brooklyn Jazz Underground recording artist Jeremy Siskind (piano), Taylor Waugh (bass) and Austin Walker (drums). One of the guys Ben took sax lessons from sits in for two of the tracks; his name is Chris Potter. Equally sharing the composing duties with one track contributed by Siskind, the Brothers & Co. run through a program of tunes that swing, groove and bop, often through tempo changes and some harmonic shifts. It’s not whack jazz and it’s not traditional mainstream jazz, but a “just right” kind of jazz. “Extra Fuzz” is a funky jazz song that unfolds over time without losing it’s hard groove. John’s arrangement of the traditional Christian hymn “Come Thou Fount” exploits the chemistry between him and his brother as both play seamlessly around each other and together. Although most of the players, including both brothers, are still pursuing advanced studies in music, they’ve already have graduate degree in the School of Experienced, having played with many of today’s established vets. Thus, it means that as good as Uncertain Living is, it will likely keep getting better from The Britton Brothers.

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