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MP3 Brownman & GRUVASYLUM - Limited Edition Live

A live concert performance from Brownman & GRUVASYLUM - jazz-hip-hop led by the award-winning Trinidadian born trumpet player from Guru''s Jazzmatazz (of Gangstarr fame). What Miles would be doing with hip-hop.

8 MP3 Songs
HIP-HOP/RAP: Jazz-Rap, JAZZ: Acid Jazz

Bring Jungle Jazz to Montréal Jazz Festival
By: Janice Dayle | July 2003 | MONTREAL
appearing in the Jamaican Gleaner, July 2003 Edition

Montréal’s International Jazz Festival 2003, the 24th edition dedicated to the late Charlie Biddles wrapped up on July 6 following 11 days and nights of top brass calibre rhythmic styles. One of the most notable performances that remained true to the pattern of music mastery set throughout Jazz Fest, was Nick “Brownman” Ali and his band Gruvasylum. The jazz-hip-hop / jungle-jazz group coming out of Toronto gave a heavy hitting performance on July 4 at The Blue Light Stage.

No stranger to what has been widely referred to as one of the world’s greatest jazz festivals, Gruvasylum’s leader, Brownman performed twice at free Jazz Fest concerts this year. He also appeared on July 3 at The General Motors Main Stage as the specially featured guest of accomplished guitarist Steven Cole and The Thermal Quartet.

The mind-blowing Trinidadian trumpet and Flugelhorn player spent his childhood in Toronto and received formal training as a jazz musician in New York. Brownman, whose nick-name was derived from a taunting childhood derivative turned personalised identity, was applauded at Montréal’s Jazz Fest 2001, when his 5 piece chordless latin jazz funk unit, CRUZAO won the coveted General Motor’s Grand Prix de Jazz Award for Canadian Jazz Group of The Year and the CBC Galaxie’s 2001 Rising Star Award. This started the winning streak for Brownman who would go on to be awarded the 2002 Canadian National Jazz Award, NJA, for Composer of The Year and was nominated for 2002 and 2003 NJAs for Electric Jazz Group of The Year as well as being nominated in 2002 for Jazz Trumpet Player of the Year.

All the melodic ability that afforded Brownman the opportunity to perform on several motion picture soundtracks and music videos garnering extremely high acclaim unfolded at Montréal’s annual jazz euphoria. Throngs of jazz enthusiasts soaked up Gruvasylum’s jungle jazz groove that was delivered with conscious freestyling from the band’s featured rapper MC Enlight. Blending the natural improvisational nature of hip-hop’s freestyle-rapping genre with jazz and its intrinsic spur of the moment character, turned out to be a perfect match that Brownman has succeeded in instituting as one of his new evolving sounds of jazz.

“Both art forms are rooted in improvisation and both Freestyle and the jazz solo aren’t so far apart on the musical tree I feel,” Brownman states. It was this hip-hop meets jazz ideology that was a sure hit in Montréal.

“I am a born and bred jazz trumpet player,” Brownman said about his affinity for the musical style he uses as a base in so many rhythmic expressions. Having studied with jazz greats like the 7 time Grammy Award winning Randy Becker and the Canadian-European jazz icon Kenny Wheeler, Brownman is as consumed with forming fusions of Jazz with hip hop, Latin and funk, as he is with the classic jazz form. Persistent drive and exceptional talent has resulted in the 25 year old forming and leading 4 bands, each with a different flavour, he said.

Although Brownman, one of Canada’s most sought after session musicians has played on over 100 CD’s (many winning Juno Awards – Canada’s version of the Grammy) he only recently began to gain greater recognition since the many nominations and awards of the past 2 years. Now he’s in demand for special guest appearances such as the brilliant Main Stage showcase delivered at Jazz Fest 2003 and a wide gamut of national and international performances that seem to swallow up most of Brownman’s schedule. One other benefit of being singled out as outstanding in his craft was signing with top Canadian jazz label Justin Time Records. “Our debut CD Shades Of Brown released in September 2002 sat at number 1 on national jazz charts for a while,” Brownman said.

Brownman’s versatility and amazing energy is undeniable, “I don’t believe in dabbling,” he said. Even though his historical jazz blends are often criticized by the ultra conservatives, Brownman perseveres with the mindset that jazz needs no preservation, it needs to evolve. In addition to Cruzao and Gruvasylum the jazz genius currently leads Marron Matizado, a highly energized 10-piece Salsa Band, and the more classic Nick Ali Trio focusing on the great jazz swing tradition. Brownman appears at different venues in Toronto throughout July.

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