Ari Brown Jazz saxophonist, pianist, and educator Ari Brown - part of the avant-garde scene in Chicago - will perform with his quartet at the Redstone Room of the River Music Experience in downtown Davenport on July 16. Brown will conduct a workshop at 3 p.m. and perform a two-set concert starting at 6 p.m. Admission to the workshop is $10, while concert tickets are $15.

The Chicago Reader has called Brown "a terrific saxophonist with a deep understanding of both bop's complex rhythms and the wild expressionism of free jazz."

Brown was born (in 1944) and reared on the south side of Chicago. He picked up scattered ideas of playing the piano as a child by watching his mother's fingers as she played the piano at home. But he didn't take up the instrument seriously until he entered college in 1961. While attending Wilson Junior College, he met future Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians stalwarts Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, and Jack De Johnette, all of whom shared much musical knowledge with Ari. He received his B.A. in music education from Vandercook College of Music. Ari didn't pick up the saxophone until 1965.

In 1971, Ari gave up day jobs and began devoting himself to playing music full-time. In 1974, an automobile accident knocked out some of his teeth, and he gave up playing the sax for close to a year. But he was still able to play the keyboard, and he performed with blues and soul singers such as B. B. King, Lou Rawls, Gene Chandler, Tyrone Davis, Chuck Berry, and the Four Tops. Ari has also worked with jazz greats such as Sonny Stitt, McCoy Tyner, Big John Patton, and Don Patterson.

Near the end of the '70s, Ari joined Elvin Jones' Jazz Machine for a gig that lasted two years and continued off and on until Elvin's death in 2004. Ari also spent two years performing and touring with Lester Bowie. Ari hooked up with percussionist/composer Kahil El'Zabar and his Ritual Trio in 1989, which has resulted in five CDs on Delmark Records and tours of Europe, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Ari has recorded two CDs under his own name on Delmark Records - Ultimate Frontier (1996) and Venus (1998)- and both feature Ari on tenor and soprano saxophones and piano, brother Kirk Brown on piano, Josef Ben Israel on bass, and Avreeayl Ra on drums. Ari will be performing with this same ensemble July 16 at the Redstone Room.


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