The Official Website for novelist, memoirist, singer/songwriter, and visual artist, Angela Carole Brown. A place to hear music, read works, and much more.
 

 


 


EARS     EYES     WORDS     OM     ETC     CONNECT

 

                     

Welcome to my electronic press kit  (music & performance)

INTRODUCING . . .

BIO

COVER SONG SAMPLERS

COVER SONG LIST (downloadable pdf)

LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEO

PHOTOS

PRESS REVIEWS

RADIO INTERVIEWS

ARTICLES

CONTACT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Angela has written books, composed music, performed, and has remained wildly creative ––
from the work she does with the Orchestre Surreal, to her straight-ahead jazz gigs. She is a huge addition to the cultural landscape of LA, making the city richer. She has never wavered from her resolve to be creative and I love that she is constantly innovating and renewing her agreement with the universe to make sacred art."
 

–– Billy Childs

 

 

 

 

 

 

and from THE GODDESS PROJECT


 

 

 

 

 

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   B   I   O   G   R   A   P   H   Y

 

 

Los Angeles native Angela Carole Brown has been a veteran of the L.A. music scene for nearly three decades as a vocalist and recording artist. She has recorded voice-overs, movie cues, jingles, and CDs for herself and other artists, including: Josh Groban's hit single You Raise Me Up on his Closer CD for Warner Bros. Records, and demo tests for South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. She has worked theatre, clubs, concert halls, television, and radio, in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including the lead in L.A. Music Award’s “2004 Best Rock Opera of the Year” Symphony of the Absurd with the Orchestre Surreal at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, and her critically lauded Off-Broadway, one-woman show, The Purple Sleep Café, at Primary Stages' 45th Street Theatre in New York City.  

 

Angela began her career as an actress, after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and landing work with various Los Angeles theatre companies, performing the repertoires of Shakespeare, Williams, Brecht, Shaw, and Puccini, to name a few, the experience of which has had significant bearing on her approach to a song. The high notes will mostly be elusive to this slightly raspy alto, but her gift is in her ability to use that texture to interpret a lyric with genuine intimacy, and connect to a song the way an actor connects to a character he is hired to play. Jason McCloskey, in the BACK STAGE WEST, has said of her: "As Angela Carole Brown begins to sing, she underscores the fact that while most singers simply sing songs, great singers employ their voices as instruments and their songs as vehicles to create tone poems of undeniable emotional impact."

 

Angela eventually migrated from acting to singing by joining various bar bands, doing the cabaret and hotel circuit, and establishing what would turn out to be years-long alliances with wonderful musicians, and with recording work; and in 1984 won the grand prize in the first-ever (to become annual) Stardom Pursuit singing contest sponsored by the old legendary Rose Tattoo Cabaret in Los Angeles. 

 

In 1989, she signed a record contract with Tokyo's Teichiku Records, and released her debut CD, Angela, produced by David Garfield, which rose to #2 on Japan’s pop charts, leading her to be featured on Tokyo's NHK variety television show Music Dream Collection.  Angela remains her only release for Teichiku. 

 

In 1990, she began her artist's residency at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, with entertainment director Dana Bronson, which would turn out to extend for the next two decades, shape her as a vocalist, and result in lasting friendships and revered professional alliances. 

 

She never did "the road," but has established a solid base and reputation as an L.A. vocalist of stylistic diversity, integrity and professionalism.

 

Angela launched two original music projects in the early 2000s, whose mission was to feature her songwriting and to create live performance experiences. The Global Folk, a guitar-led trio, showcased Angela's alt-folk songs, and The Slow Club Quartet, a piano-led trio, showcased her jazz compositions. These two groups performed all over Los Angeles, including the Playboy Jazz Festival, and resulted in the recordings Resting on the Rock, The Slow Club, Music for the Weeping Woman, and Expressionism, all on Rue de la Harpe Records.

 

Today Angela is one of the lead singers (since 1997) of the award-winning, genre-bending, and exquisitely radical 30-piece ELVIS SCHOENBERG'S ORCHESTRE SURREAL, as "The Fabulous Miss Thing".  She is also a writing and performing member of the newly assembled KIRTANKARA, a 7-member sacred Kirtan chant ensemble.  She has recently had several of her songs placed on the series Venice.  And she is one of the featured women interviewed for the new documentary The Goddess Project, from filmmakers Sara Landas and Holli Rae.

 

COMPLETE PERFORMANCE RESUME

 

 

 

 

 

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   C   O   V   E   R        S   O   N   G        S   A   M   P   L   E   R   S

 

 

 

         

 

 

      

 

 

DOWNLOAD A PDF OF ACB'S COMPLETE COVER SONG LIST

 

 

 

 

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   L   I   V   E        P   E   R   F   O   R   M   A   N   C   E        V   I   D   E   O     

 

 

 

 

 

          T I N Y   G L I M P S E   O F   T O D A Y


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          2 5  - Y E A R   R E T R O S P E C T I V E

 

 

 


For more individual & complete live performance footage,
please visit Angela's
OFFICIAL YOUTUBE CHANNEL

 

 

 

 

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   P   H   O   T   O   S

 


 

Photo Credits:  Annamarie Rewal.  Sandy Brooke.  Jim Henken.  Dailey Pike.  Scott Mitchell.  Drea Rewal. Jim DiJulio.  Rockey Schenck.  Brian Kramer.

 

 

 

 

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  P   R   E   S   S        R   E   V   I   E   W   S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"As Angela Carole Brown begins to sing she underscores the fact that while most singers simply sing songs, great singers employ their voices as instruments and their songs as vehicles to create tone poems of undeniable emotional impact.

         ––– Jason McCloskey, BACK STAGE WEST, Los Angeles
 

 

 

"In her one-woman show, THE PURPLE SLEEP CAFÉ, Angela Carole Brown gives us some extraordinary lessons in what it’s like growing up as an artist, that if you grow up as a person who must rely upon, perhaps live within, the confines of the imagination, you grow up in a very particular kind of way, scary, sometimes. There is a moment in the play where Angela addresses the Muse, and it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous moment of theatre.”

––– Clayton Riley, WLIB, New York

 

 

 

“Necessary to complete the scenario are a baby grand and a cool, sophisticated jazz singer. Angela Carole Brown is just such a creature, with a rich voice that makes everything from Elton John to Edith Piaf sound just like Gershwin.  Perched on a stool, she looks like an exotic falcon, with her head neatly framed in a cloche of black curls and the wide collar of her taffeta wrap dress nestled around her shoulders like wings.  She exudes the kind of preternatural class that is uncommon in Los Angeles, where peacocks are more than ruler of the roost.

––– Hillary Johnson, LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

 

 

"I was fortunate to be in Hollywood last Friday night, and caught the debut of this multi-talented group. Don’t let 'debut' mislead you. These are seasoned pros at the top of their game. However, it is the first time they have come together live to perform the exhilaratingly diverse RESTING ON THE ROCK  album. What a treat it was!

     "Fronted by singer-songwriter Angela Carole Brown, this foursome filled the intimate club with a cross-genre exploration of swirling melodies rooted in folk, soul, world, blues, jazz, soft rock and soaring psychedelic arcs reminiscent of the best of the late '60's. Yet the segues were seamless and organic.

     "While not having the international assortment of instruments featured on the lushly produced CD, The Global Folk (featuring Ross Wright on 6-string fretless bass, Ken Rosser on guitars, and Jack Lees on drums and percussion) created a full, satisfying live sound that filled the room with both delicate detail and full-bodied assault, while allowing Ms. Brown's voice to be enjoyed in all of its eloquent texture, seductive nuance, and regal power. While all of the tunes will inspire and entertain, An Old Black Man Someday and Wake Up Ophelia are knockouts. The latter transcends Janis and Big Brother in every way, with Mr. Rosser blistering riffs, like Clapton at his Creamiest.

     "It's unfortunate that a group of such top-notch talent plays a half-filled room, because the music defies categorization and contains mind-expanding literary lyrics, while talentless marketing-created hacks fill the big auditoriums, perpetuating banality.

     "Angela Carole Brown deserves to be discovered by more than the cognoscenti of the LA music scene. If the fathers of formula that dominate the record industry fail to bring artists like these to your attention, then find Ms. Brown and The Global Folk yourself. You will be thrilled!"

––– T.R. Black, BLACKEYE, KUCI

 

 

 

 

"In our age of reality TV hype and focus group music marketing, the vocal prowess of Angela Carole Brown (ACB) wafts into my living room like an invigorating aroma.  On her recent recording, THE SLOW CLUB, Los Angeles based ACB shows a remarkable breadth and depth of artistic vision, beginning with an arresting abstract acrylic painting on the disc's front cover. Inspired from deep within the bowels of the Slow Club in Paris, France, ACB's canon of songs pivots easefully from the laid back neo-soul-shuffle of the title track, for example, to the breakneck-speed scat on the somewhat autobiographical 'A kid and her dog':
     "'Betwixt and between rolling on the ground making mud pies ...
     'If you really want to know the truth of it all ...
     'She was a good kid ...
     'Watching ballerinas in movies...

     'So she puts on her very own show ...'
     "Her eleven originals are wonders of lyrical artifice and invention, betraying a preference for bebop, swing, Afro-Cuban and funk conventions, among other genres.
     "What sets ACB apart from her peers, however, is her obvious ability to interpret a lyric. On the basis of her own work, it is fair to say that she would easily lend to the jazz standards her own unique readings. For this, she utilises a powerful range of techniques, including near-flawless articulation, poise, great intonation and purposeful pauses and inflections. Needless to say, ACB is a professionally trained actress.
     "It shows!
     "Her mannered diction and narrative skills are heard to great effect on 'Van Gogh's Ear', a post-modern tale about artistic license and fate.
In fact, the manner in which all her lyrics are written is unusual and captivating, referencing anything from Shakespeare to Dylan Thomas."
    "ACB is accompanied by high-quality sidemen who swing like the gallows and really know how to groove hard: Craig Pilo's masterful flourishes on the drumset stand out; Ed Czach and Billy Childs tease forth fantastic chord progressions at the ivories; West Coast woodwind wizard Bob Sheppard blows up a storm.
     "THE SLOW CLUB eloquently represents ACB as a multi-faceted, well-kept secret on today's jazz scene. She deserves to be embraced by anyone whom appreciates jazz at its most creative and potent."

––– J. Stevenson, EJAZZNEWS

               

        

 

"Actress, songwriter, and singer Angela Carole Brown has many talents, but in order to discover these you've had to live in Los Angeles.  Until now.  Thanks to RESTING ON THE ROCK and THE SLOW CLUB, the rest of the world gets a chance to acquaint itself with her, and it's well worth the trouble to look up these records on the web.  As far as the material is concerned, here is a well-balanced collection of esteemed original songs."

––– Douglas Norstrom, HIFI & MUZIK MAGAZINE, Sweden

 

 

 

"Act like you’ve been there. Angela Carole Brown, vocalist, writer, and composer, did, and scripted lyrics to be fictitious in venue never realizing that many memories did cross its doorway, for The Slow Club’s home was in reality Paris. So the story unfolds, but what is so stunning is how in music Ms. Brown allows the listener to escape down this moody alley way grasping for that elixir of slow gin. THE SLOW CLUB released in 2005 by Rue de la Harpe Records is a full set of pure Brown originals molded to her moods and technique. Ms. Brown, known for her dark and morose presentation, brings to the forefront her diverse and innovative approach to writing and performing. Out of the gate Presently Thinking kicks off with a strong keyboard prelude only to segue into the sultry moods of Ms. Brown. A very nice piece to start the journey. Significant are the talents of Billy Childs [piano], and Craig Pilo [drums] through the project. On the second cut Sixty Three the recipe of contrast between Kevin Ricard [percussion] and Bob Sheppard [woodwinds] is unique and a real trip. Sharp tones and easy to relate too. Most all the arrangements are so listener friendly, and mate with the vocals nicely. The main influence, Craig Pilo [drums] and Ms. Brown shake the house with cut Van Gogh‘s Ear. However prior to that piece, a solo performance by the woman herself allows all to witness the true talent absorbed within her by many years of embracing music. Cantankerous may be an effort about oneself. One will never know, but the style and delivery is so very special. Angela Carole Brown is amazing and should be experienced."

––– Karl Stober, JAZZREVIEW.COM

 

 

 

 

"Angela Carole Brown's tone at times is hauntingly similar to the likes of Diana Ross, but technically proficient like an Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Dianne Reeves, and Jon Hendricks. Angela's vocal style is also very personal and so full of raw emotion that at times it's kind of spooky. One thing is for sure: this dynamic singer cannot be pigeon-holed as one type of vocalist."

––– Maurice Edwards, EVOLUTION OF MEDIA

 

 

 

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  R   A   D   I   O         I   N   T   E   R   V   I   E   W   S   

 

 

In studio with Clayton Riley, On Time
WLIB 1190 AM New York
 
Discussing Angela's one-woman show
28:08

In studio with Barry Gaston, Moonglow Radio
KMUW 89.1 FM Wichita

Discussing Angela's life as a vocalist 

31:08

 

 

In studio with T Katz & George Cummings
KHTS Friday Matinee Radio Santa Clarita
Discussing music, books, and organ donation
 
19:52

In studio with TR Black, Blacklisted
KUCI 88.9 FM Irvine
Discussing Angela's book Trading Fours, and her music
 
31:23

 

 

In studio with Julio Martinez, Arts In Review
KPFK Radio 90.7 FM Los Angeles
Discussing Angela's novel Trading Fours, and her
various music projects

13:
47

In studio with Sandra Booker, American Vernacular blogtalkradio
Discussing Angela's novel The Assassination of
Gabriel Champion
 
25:16

 

 

 

In studio with Angela Carole Brown, Radio Soup
Star Worldwide Internet Radio Networks
This time ACB is in the interviewer's chair, talking with composer Ross Wright

53:
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Riveting Riffs Magazine
The Incomparable Angela Carole Brown

by Joe Montague
February 2009
 

The greatest compliment that one can receive concerning their music, is usually derived from their peers, and so in preparing for my conversation with jazz singer, Angela Carole Brown, I contacted my friend drummer Craig Pilo, who among his many musical ventures, performs and records as part of Brown’s The Slow Club Quartet and I also contacted guitar virtuoso Ken Rosser who plays alongside Brown in The Global Folk.

 

“The thing that I find both strikingly unique and inspiring about Angela is her generosity. Rather than view the band as something she sings on top of, she sings inside the band, finding a way to mesh with the other instruments as an equal. She yields space, focus and direction to other members of the band, to make the whole thing sound as good as it can. She is the ultimate team player, and as a result, the respect that she commands among musicians at every artistic and professional level is no accident. Angela is the kind of musician whose vision shapes the whole music, not just her own performance. Being able to play or sing is one thing, but ultimately it is about what you have to say. Angela always has something to say,” says Ken Rosser.

 

Whether one is listening to Mick Jagger’s, “Gimme Shelter,” which comprised the opening track of Angela Carole Brown’s jazz CD, Expressionism or a song from Resting On The Rock, an album to which she refers as Post-Modernist Folk, there is always a cohesive sound to the music, and Brown is so effective in the way that she uses her voice, that it truly becomes another instrument in the bands, rather that the instrumentalists serving merely as her accompaniment.

 

To that end, Craig Pilo, who has known Brown since the mid nineties, comments, “I’ve never heard singing, soul, diction, tone, and commitment like hers, from any other singer. Great singers are a dime a dozen, especially here in Los Angeles, but Angela has something to say. She has a voice and an identity and it needs to be heard.”

 

Despite the fact that Brown is an accomplished songwriter, something that Pilo also noted when he was contacted, only one of her compositions, “Sleepwalk,” appears on Expressionism. The other songs include Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes, ”Tom Waits’,    “A Soldier’s Things,” ”Joni Mitchell’s,“ Both Sides Now, and Lennon and McCartney’s, “In My Life.”

 

Brown explains how rocker Mick Jagger’s tune, “Gimme Shelter,” came to be included on her jazz album. “All four of us in the quartet threw songs onto the table and said, ‘What do you think of this?’ That has been encouraged. In this particular case, “Gimme Shelter,” was brought forth by the bass player Don Kasper. He is the newest member of the band, and he has caught on to what we want to do, which is cover (tunes), because I am not writing anymore in the jazz vein. We didn’t want to do a standards CD, but instead cull from other genres and put these songs into jazz environment

 

“Because I am a vocalist, and not an instrumentalist, the most important part for me is the lyrics. Are they saying something that resonates with a personal experience of my own? I have to admit, that secondarily, (I ask) what is it like musically and harmonically?  Those things, of course, are important to me, and the more interesting that they are the better. Although I was not the one to bring, “Gimme Shelter,” to the table, I always felt that it was radical in its soul, in terms of what it is saying about anti-war and so forth. It has a little bit of the activist in its soul, and I resonate with that.”

 

It was Brown who selected Joni Mitchell’s, “Both Sides Now,” as one of the tracks for Expressionism, and both the song and Mitchell are close to her own heart. “This is one of my favorite all time songs, and she was one of the greatest inspirations (in my life) for me to start singing in the first place. Joni Mitchell and Ella Fitzgerald are the two people that when I was growing up and listening to them, they made me want to sing. This particular song is one of my favorites in lyrical terms. I think that the song has even greater resonance, with Mitchell singing it as an older woman, because really it is a song about looking back over your life, and assessing it. She recorded it again, maybe four years ago, with an orchestral arrangement.”

 

Brown believes that what has enabled her bands to cover well-known songs and still have them well received is the approach that she and her band members take in making these tunes their own. “We have made them very different than the originals. I think that it begs comparisons when you are just making what has already been done. When you do something that is really different, there is less of a tendency for people to compare them to the originals. I am very proud of the fact that we have managed to do that. We haven’t done the songs in the way that we know them,” she says.

 

Brown’s phrasing is impeccable as she sings the reflective John Lennon and Paul McCartney classic, “In My Life,” and pianist Ed Czach wrote a beautiful new arrangement, so that the music would fit into a jazz setting. The patrons of Jax Bar & Grill, a cozy jazz club in Glendale California where The Slow Club Quartet regularly performs, were the first to hear the band’s interpretation of, “In My Life.”

 

“We just showed up at the gig, and Ed said, ‘Here’s my arrangement.’ We all heard it for the first time, while we were playing it. It jus blew me away, because he has a harmonic sensibility like nobody else. He created a harmonic environment that was so unlike the original recording, but it still captured the soul of the tune. It blew me away. I heard it for the first time, while I was singing it,” recalls Brown.

 

Angela Carole Brown’s alter ego emerges when she becomes the singer for The Global Folk, a band which released Resting On The Rock, in 2004, and surfaced again in 2008, when she recorded a more stripped down, organic CD Music For The Weeping Woman, with The Global Folk’s guitarist, Ken Rosser.

 

“I decided that I wanted to do something that was a little more intimate. Ken Rosser is an amazing guitar player. I think that we are musical soulmates, because we think alike in terms of how we approach music. I was trying to experiment, and not do what has already been done. I don’t know if I always accomplish that, but that is what I am always trying for. Ken is amazing, as he plays stringed instruments from all different cultures,” she says while rhyming off numerous instruments and their countries of origin.

 

Brown helps me to understand why it is that she refers to this side of her musical ledger as Post-Modern Folk Experimentation. “When most people think of folk music, they automatically assume that it is acoustic. I know that was a very significant aspect of folk music in a certain era, but we do very little acoustic music with this project. We play around with the limitations of the guitar and what we can do with it, as well as, what we can make it do.  We (determine) how we can exploit that in terms of writing music. I call it Post-Modern, because we are definitely taking the notion of folk music, and stylistically it still harkens to (that genre). The music still (possesses) socially conscious ideas that harkens back to folk music. From a purely sonic and instrumental perspective, we are doing a lot of electronic and experimental things with the groove, which is why I call it Post-Modern Folk Experimentation.”

 

In addition to being an accomplished singer and songwriter in two diverse genres, Angela Carole Brown is also a gifted painter, graphics design artist and novelist. Her fiction novel Trading Fours, which was published in 2005 and has been well received.

Brown talks about Trading Fours, a book which chronicles the lives of four musicians, “I have actually written a few novels and this one is not even the first.  I decided to publish Trading Fours first, because I felt I had a built in audience, as most of the people that I know are musicians. Musicians would be interested in a musician’s story. It is fiction, but it definitely culls from a lot of experiences that I have had as a musician. My reason for writing it, is your average person knows rock stars or celebrities, like Sting or Madonna, or they know the bad lounge act that is parodied on Saturday Night Live, but there is a whole world of musicians in between, about which they know nothing, and I wanted to write that story.”

 

In the interim, Angela Carole Brown is weaving quite a story of her own and rather than waiting for someone to write a book about it and read it in the past tense, you just might want to get your ticket punched by purchasing a copy of Expressionism or Music For The Weeping Woman, and enjoying her music in the here and now.


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Bottom-End
Angela Carole Brown...A Pro by Any Other Name

by Pete Strobl

June 2008

 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of recording one of my all-time favorite singers. I’m finishing up the SolidTube tracks and we will begin mixing the album in a few days. While in Vienna, I had Mandana sketch out the background vocals but another voice will really add some meat to the tracks. And I know of no meatier voice than the one that lives inside Angela Carole Brown. 

I met Angie many years ago at a cabaret in Los Angeles. Steve Haberman, Jim DiJulio Jr. and I were the house trio and one night Angie turned up with a pile of charts. We played a set behind her that night and from the first note, I knew that I was hearing something special. Angela’s rich voice oozes effortlessly and makes its way to the listener’s ear on waves of pure and honest emotion. I know, I know…the last sentence sounds a bit over the top, but if you go to her website or check out the video of “The Slow Club” you will understand my lack of adequately descriptive vocabulary. So rather than try to put her abilities into words, give her a listen and see if you can come up with something better.

 

The first time I heard Mandana sing, I thought of Angela’s voice. They both have a rich and sonorous low range…this is a gift and cannot be taught any more than you can teach a young athlete to be taller. Stronger? Yes, but size is a natural attribute and both Angela and Mandana have big natural voices.

 

I had hoped to do the background voices for the SolidTube album with the guys in the band in combination with Mandana, and some of these tracks may ultimately find their way onto the album. But when we cut the guide tracks for a song called “Home” I knew that there was only one direction to go. I emailed Angela from Wild One Studio and begged.

 

One look at Angela’s website and it will be obvious why I begged…Angela is definitely not your average background singer. She is a published novelist, a composer and arranger, has produced her own albums and is a must see at her jazz gigs in the more popular LA nightclubs. But, she has always graciously stepped into the breech for me when I have needed her no matter what the gig.

 

Working with Angela is the ultimate experience in professionalism. She will stand in front of the mic and work all day to give you just exactly what the track needs. If you need ideas…she has a pocketful. But she’s just as ready to duplicate whatever parts are needed. Want vibrato?…sure. Straight tone?…no problem. Double the track and sound like someone else?…yep. Angela has all the tools of the trade and then some. And she is so good at what she does that ego never enters the room.

 

Doing vocals with Angela is a little like doing a photo shoot with an experienced model. All you have to do is say a few words, point and shoot. She makes subtle adjustments so fast that you just need to keep the machine in record and catch each take. We did five songs in two hours and I never felt like we were working too fast. It’s just that every frigging take is a keeper. Normally, there are takes that are better than others, but when she is at the mic, there just isn’t a lot that isn’t usable.

 

I’m really looking forward to mixing this album and am so proud to have been able to include Angela’s talent. I only wish that the SolidTube gang could have watched her work on their tracks. I know that her level of expertise and professionalism would have been an inspiration for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E Jazz News Magazine
From the Expressionistic Promptings of the Jazz Soul

by John Stevenson

January 2008
 

Following on her acclaimed 2005 jazz outing “The Slow Club”, all-round artist Angela Carole Brown, has delivered an impactful follow-up with Expressionism.

On it, she has prepared a smorgasbord of musical delights – from straight-ahead jazz, to 1970s and ‘80s pop, through to the Persian strains of “Bavar Kon” on which she offers a tasteful Farsi vocal. The quaint arrangements and vocalisations on Jimi Hendrix’s “If Six Was Nine”, and Tom Waits’s “A Soldier’s Things” will surely prick up the ears of non-jazz listeners. I caught up with ACB in Los Angeles for a fascinating peek into her oeuvre.


John Stevenson: Expressionism, your most recent Slow Club Quartet CD, exquisitely explores the jazz tradition, taking up in gamely fashion, where 2005’s The Slow Club left off. The concept of a “new standard”, or a jazz take on some of the more recent pop and rock material, looms large. What are your thoughts on the inclusion of this kind of material? Does it draw new audiences into the so-called jazz tradition?

Angela Carole Brown: Honestly, I hadn’t really thought about whether it would draw a certain audience. I did, however, feel very stale about the notion of one more standards album; with all reverence paid to the great standards songbook, but it just seemed to have been done to death. So the idea of culling for material from other genres and finding ways to place them into the jazz environment was exciting for all of us, especially since the first CD was all original. And these rock and pop songs are all, by and large, standards in their own world - Joni Mitchell, Hendrix, Tom Waits, the Stones...

JS: As if your life journey so far as a singer/songwriter, published novelist and artist/designer has not been already been self-sacrificing, you’ve gone the extra mile as a kidney donor – a courageous deed not without its own potential life-endangering hazards. Would you care to share some your religious or spiritual sources of inspiration?

ACB: The most I can really offer about any religious leanings is just my desire to be a creature of compassion and to be of service in this life. You speak of the artistic pursuit as being self-sacrificing, and honestly I can’t help but see it as a very self-absorbing pursuit, so I think my desire to be of service was, perhaps, a way of bringing some balance to my life. And Hans, my kidney mate, is an incredible (and creative in his own right) human being, so it was an honour to take part in extending his life and health.

JS: How long have you been singing jazz and what drew you to it in the first place?

ACB: It was the first music I really pursued and leaned toward when I began singing, which was in my early twenties. But even earlier than that, my stepdad was very instrumental in giving me that influence with the older more classic jazz repertoire, the standards, the crooners, and big band. And my older sister had thrown some very strange (to my teenage ears) progressive jazz at me; Pharaoh Sanders, Lonnie Liston Smith, Miles, etc. So I had good solid early exposure to jazz.

JS: Did you undergo any apprenticeships with other singers or instrumentalists?

ACB: Nothing official or formal, but every musician who came through my life in those early days was certainly a teacher of many music and life lessons.

JS: Do you think the Barack Obama presidency has the potential, at least, to usher in a new dawn for American music and more specifically for your own creative efforts.

ACB: I think this presidency has the great potential to usher in all sorts of new and wonderful changes, and I think art and artists finally stand a chance to be considered important and crucial again. It’s my hope, at least. It is certainly a new day, and I, for one, could not be prouder of our nation for putting this man in the White House.

JS: Your interesting original, “Sleepwalk”, carries some fine orchestration. I like the spoken-word concept as well. You are a born storyteller, willing to take on topics that Americans would prefer to ignore. What are your thoughts on California's sexual identity politics?

ACB: Well, that song was written almost 2 decades ago, and really was meant to be light-hearted and fun. But I do find it interesting, and serendipitous, that it finally got recorded and placed on an album, after years on the shelf, right at a time when these specific politics are in the forefront right now. I was quite disappointed that California overturned legislation that supported equal rights for gay couples. I personally think that the "we support civil unions, but not gay marriage" spin line is really no different a dynamic than the old "separate but equal" clauses of the Civil Rights Movement in the 50's and 60's, and it pains me that we haven't progressed a whole lot from there.

JS: I can’t help but comment on your poignant and moving take on the (much under-recorded) bluesy Eugene McDaniels piece, “Sunday and Sister Jones”. As if that wasn’t eye-moistening enough, you proceed to floor listeners with Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”. What inspired the inclusion of these two selections in particular?

ACB: Well, first of all, thank you for the compliment! These are two of my all-time favourite songs. And this album really was an opportunity to honour songs that have been moving me for years; as well as for the rest of the guys in the quartet, who all brought songs to the table. But, yes, I brought these two. "Sunday and Sister Jones" is just so haunting, and carries with it an undertone of old Black-culture, front-porch, religious-conjuring flavours that liberally saturate the traditions of old Negro Spirituals and Blues, yet it’s a song that’s very stylistically modern. Roberta Flack first exposed me to that song with the recording in the early 70’s. And "Both Sides Now" has always resonated with me as a piece about looking back over one's life. I don't think I could've sung it with any real gut connection in my twenties or even thirties. It’s an old-soul song.

JS: The Hollywood Master Chorale for the LA Composers Concert performed your composition, "Pavements". This must have been a tremendous form of validation for your years of artistic endeavour. Do you like the complex enormity of the orchestral setting as much as you do the intimate quartet date?

ACB: Yes! And it’s a real challenge for me, because it isn't my experience or my background. I've always been in amazement and awe of composers and orchestrators of huge pieces, because it really takes such great craft and skill and nuance and the understanding of musical relationships to write something for that many voices or instruments and not have it be just a cacophony of noise. It's like juggling 80 balls in the air. And in the orchestral sense of the word, "Pavements" is still very small and intimate; but it was such a high to hear 45 voices singing it. And it's also just an odd piece; so it had every potential to stick out like a sore thumb on this bill with all these beautiful, romantic pieces, because it isn't a ‘pretty’ piece. I describe it as ambient-industrialist pop, in that it's meant to mimic the mechanized sounds of industry and factories and trains, which, for me, is the image evoked when I think of L.A.’s homeless, which is what "Pavements" is about. But it got a really lovely response, so yes I felt quite validated.

JS: What are some of the challenges of working with a great group of musicians like Ed Czach, Don Kasper and Craig Pilo? Do egos sometimes get in the way?

ACB: Well, they’re the best musicians I know, hands down. So, the challenge for me is rising to the occasion when I perform with them. They make me better than I am. These three guys are very different and distinct personalities, personally and musically. So there is every potential for artistic clashes, and yet it's never happened. They all bring their own aspect of musicianship and approach to the table, and it just works. The only ego clashing we’ve had yet are arguments over who's buying the round of beer on the next set break. It’s been a wonderful journey playing with these gentlemen.

JS: Tell us about some of the creative projects you will be engaged in soon?

ACB: I’m trying to write more music toward another singer/songwriter folk album. Folk music is my musical alter ego, as you know. I’m trying to get the next novel published. And I’m just trying to live well, honour this new one-kidneyed body, and continue to be of service through these artistic pursuits. And thank you for such a wonderful opportunity to talk about it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offeat L.A.
(transcribed from the KCLA-FM radio broadcast interview)
by Chuck Erickson

March 2009
 

Chuck Erickson:  How and when did you discover your musical talent?

 

Angela Carole Brown:  At about 10, I realized I had a voice, and I constantly sang along to my favorite records.  And I also was made to take piano lessons (all my siblings were), and was the only one who continued to play even just recreationally.  So those were early indicators.  But I seemed to resist pursuing music as I got older, and didn't choose it to study in college.  Instead I got my degree in theatre (not even musical theatre!), and really hustled an acting career, refusing all auditions that were musical.  I absolutely have no answers as to why I was so resistant.  I think I had this view of the music industry as not one of great integrity, one that would not allow me to make music my own way….like the acting industry was any better!   In hindsight, I was right AND wrong, because the independent music scene now has such power, and that is obviously a global reaction to a frustrating industry.  I think the point at which I lost my resistance was when I discovered I really couldn’t deny this pulse in me, and that happened somewhere in my mid-twenties.  In this day and age, in terms of the mainstream record industry, you’re already over-the-hill by your mid-twenties.  So, this is a very interesting business to be in, to say the least. 

 

CE:  When did you start performing to an audience?

 

ACB:  My first performance in front of others was getting the lead on a song when I was in the church choir.  I was a teenager.  The Sunday morning arrived, and I was so nervous that my voice was trembling, and I remember wanting to scream “this isn’t how I really sound!”  which makes me smile every time I think of it.   I started singing in clubs in my mid-twenties, first with a cover band, then with a cabaret act.  The eighties were big on cabaret. 

 

CE:   I understand you do both Jazz and Folk music, an unusual combination, how did that come to be?

 

ACB:   Just the two sides of me, I guess.  I began with jazz.  By my late twenties I had discovered that jazz was the direction I wanted to go in.  Again, it’s that question of what has integrity. And I found it in jazz.  I didn’t find it too many other areas.  Pop music bored me.  Jazz challenged me.  I started writing in that vein, and discovering and uncovering this really complex and rich harmonic environment that was so interesting to me.  For years, it was all I pursued.  It wasn’t until about 8-10 years ago, after putting all original music to bed for a period of hibernation, that when I resurfaced again as a songwriter, I surprisingly found this simple folk music coming out of me.  And it wasn’t AT ALL about complex harmonic environments and bebop melodies.  It was all about heart.  And frankly, the simpler I wrote the more naked the emotional expression was.  The lyric was important.  And it was a music about exposing the opened heart.  But it’s not like it suddenly replaced jazz for me.  I found these two sides of me sprouting and growing side by side.  And they were each speaking to me in very different ways.  Musical challenge and expressing my heart. 

  

CE:   You have 2 CDs out right now, one Folk, the other Jazz.  Tell us a bit more about them. 

 

ACB:   Two just released simultaneously, one for each project.  Expressionism is my jazz CD with my group The Slow Club Quartet (named after our first cd The Slow Club, which is named after a legendary jazz club in Paris).  Expressionism was named after the art movement, because our whole approach to this cd was very much about bashing the status quo, so we did all covers (except one track), whereas, with the first cd it was all originals.  And yet we didn’t choose to do a “standards” cd, which is pretty much what you tend to get with a cover song jazz recording.  Instead (and here was our inspiration from the art movement) we culled material from every genre outside of jazz, and then placed them in a jazz environment.  We all brought songs to the table, and so it was a very collaborative effort.  We’re doing Tom Waits, and Hendrix, and Elliott Smith.  But we’re jazz.   Music for the Weeping Woman, my folk cd with guitarist Ken Rosser, is all original, and was inspired by Picasso’s series of portraits The Weeping Women.  They’re portraits of women in various depictions of despair, but I extended that concept to include depictions of yearning, joy, sadness, self-discovery.  It’s about the phenomenon of weeping being very healing.  It’s a sweet, fragile music, and even with calling it folk, it isn’t exclusively acoustic guitar.  Ken Rosser is very much an experimentalist, and he plays around with mood and ambience.

 

CE:   What are your influences?

 

ACB:  Mystics, philosophers, artists and innovators, pushers of envelopes, those unconcerned with zeitgeist, those unafraid to celebrate their inner fool.  When I think of influences, I don’t think of people I’ve tried to emulate, so much as people who have inspired me to approach music, and art in general, in a certain way.  So I think of, like….Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Emmylou Harris, Cassandra Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, who was the first person who made me want to sing....Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Dostoevsky, who was the first writer that made me want to write novels, Picasso, all of the abstract artists, Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Chagall, the Impressionists, German Expressionism.  There's too many!

 

CE:   Interesting that you have painters as influences.  Do you paint also?

 

ACB:  Actually, a little bit, yes I do.  But I'm not even necessarily referring to these influences as having bearing on my own painting.  I believe they've even influenced my music.  Because it's all about approach to expression.  And that approach absolutely moves across the board of mediums.  I think it's no accident that I have an entire album of folk music that was inspired by a series of Picasso portraits, or that my newest jazz CD is named after an art movement.  Painters can influence how I write books, and novelists can influence how I make music, and musicians can influence how I paint.  It's all just about approach to expression. 

 

CE:   And that brings me to the question of you doing a lot more than just music.  Can you speak a little bit more about your other talents?

 

ACB:  Oh sure.  Yes!   Well, I’m also a novelist of literary fiction.  I have one book published so far, but three others completed.  The one that’s already out there in the world is called Trading Fours, about L.A. musicians (something I know a little bit about).  Interestingly enough, the others aren’t about music or musicians at all.  Only this one.  I write books that are character studies.  Again, that turning-inward thing that I’m kind of crazy about.  I love self-examination.  I believe within self-examination, and especially the examination of pain, is where we discover the truth in humanity.  And I love books, music, movies, etc. that do that.  So it’s what I try to do myself.  And I also put out a yoga CD last year, which is an auditory class with a beautiful score of music accompanying it, improvised by The Global Folk. 

  

CE:   What is the ultimate goal for your music?

 

ACB:   I’d like to be GOTTEN, first and foremost.  Other than that, and continuing to create in that way, I want to get songs in film and television.  Which isn’t a particularly original thought.  I think that’s what every songwriter wants these days.  It seems to be where music can get the most presence and touch the most ears.  And when music is used in a dramatic environment, it has the potential to be so powerful. 

 

CE:   What contribution do you hope to make to the world?

 

ACB:  To create art that is lasting, that transforms and transcends.  Art is as important to culture and to the evolution of the human race as science is, and I’d like to one of the ones that got to have a voice there. 

  

CE:   Think of anything else you might want to share with the audience. 

 

ACB:  It's kind of my little mantra.  Create, even if you’re not an artist, support other artists, especially the independents, live your life well (doesn’t take money to do it), and be whole.  

 

 

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Angela Carole Brown : EPK - ELECTRONIC PERFORMANCE PRESS KIT : writer/vocalist/artist

(Bio, Cover Song Samplers, Cover Song List, Live Performance Video, Photos, Press Reviews, Radio Interviews, Articles)