Bassist John Brown’s “Quiet Time” is an album that focuses mostly on intimate, reflective performances. Even the gospel-like opener, “Come Live with Me,” the title tune from a 1974 album by Ray Charles, is more meditative parishioner in the pew than rousing reverend in the pulpit. Then there is Elvin Jones’ “A Lullaby of Itsugo Village,” where Ray Codrington’s muted trumpet solo and pianist Gabe Evens’ spare accompaniment suggest the subdued atmosphere of ballad performances heard on Miles Davis’ famous “Kind of Blue” album. And Evens’ “Lost,” with Brian Miller’s alto saxophone carrying the melody, creates the kind of loneliness conveyed by film noir soundtracks. You get the point: While this is not program music per se, it plays with your imagination more than more aggressive jazz performances.
Brown, who teaches at Duke University, is a percussive, time-and-tone bassist, meaning that he takes plenty care of business in the foundation department. You can hear him solo soulfully on “You Don’t Know What Love Is” following Miller’s tastefully embellished melody statement on tenor saxophone. Additionally, it is good to hear Codrington, who is from Fayetteville and is one of jazz’s most tasteful players, throughout this album. His held notes and constructive solo runs on Dr. Lonnie Smith’s dark, minor-key “... and the Willow Weeps” are a treat. Drummer Adonis Rose, a perfect fit, completes the quintet.
The album concludes with James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” a slow, church-like take that, when considered with the opening track, frames the album soulfully. One question arises, though: This album was recorded in 2007. Why is it just becoming available now?
Correspondent Owen Cordle