The Marion Brown

Afternoon of a Georgia Faun
Geechee Recollections
Sweet Earth Flying


Marion Brown Is the most neglected musician of our time. Some of his very best work is out of print and almost completely unavailable, and that's a crime.

As a person Brown is reserved and undramatic, and all the trends have worked against him. He made a name for himself in the most extreme 60s avant-garde (playing with Archie Shepp and on Coltrane's Ascension)  but he never has been a big star, and after the audience for that kind of of thing collapsed in the 70s his avant-garde reputation did him more harm than good. Furthermore, his bucolic Trilogy wasn't a good fit with the urban avant-garde scene that did survive. He has been able to keep playing and recording in Europe and elsewhere, and he has taught music at the college level, but he has never received the recognition he deserves. Afternoon of a Georgia Faun is out of print, and the other two parts of the trilogy (controlled by Impulse / Verve) were never even released on CD at all.

Music criticism is not one of my predilections or skills, but I have to say something. The three parts of the trilogy are all different, but they have in common a contemplative, floating kind of movement, without the urgency of most New York jazz. Often one or a few instruments at a time come out of silence without a thick ensemble sound, though the multi-percussion backing can be quite complex. There's an spiritual Afrocentric feeling reminiscent of Alice Coltrane or Pharaoh Sanders (both contemporaries), but this is a thing in itself in the trilogy, and is not flagged with labels.  The textures often remind me of Bartok's "night music", and I am confident that this is no accident. The New York avant-garde was well aware of Bartok, some of whose "night music" was written during a summer in North Carolina. Brown, like Bartok, saw himself as a national musician -- his label for what he was doing was "black classical music".

It wouldn't seem too hard for someone to buy the rights to the trilogy and re-release it. Hopefully this will happen sometime during my lifetime. 



The Trilogy:

Afternoon of a Georgia Faun, ECM, 1970: Anthony Braxton, Chick Corea, Andrew Cyrille, Bennie Maupin,  Billy Malone.

Geechee Recollections, Impulse, 1973: Leo Smith, Jumma Santos, James Jefferson, Steve McCall, Bill Hasson, Billy Malone, A. Kobena Adzenyah

Sweet Earth Flying, Impulse, 1974: Paul Bley, Muhal Richard Abrahams, James Jefferson, Steve McCall, Bill Hasson.


These links may still work:

Marion Brown Downloads (Triliogy: "Georgia Fawn", "Sweet Earth", "Geechee")

"Vista" Download

Download "Once upon a Time" from Geechee Recollections" (sound quality uncertain)

Download "Buttermilk Bottom" from Geechee Recollections (sound quality uncertain)

Marion Brown discography

Nice Guys by the Art Ensemble of Chicago (1978) is in print. In places it reminds me of Brown.

 Marion Brown wiki / Interview I / Interview II / Marion Brown on Sun RaMaupin on making "Afternoon of a Georgia Faun"  / A few downloads available here / Sweet Earth Flying (download unavailable / Afternoon of a Georgia Faun (download unavailable) / Geechee Recollections (download unavailable) / Piano versions of Brown (out of print) / Sketch biography, discography, and appreciation / A jumble of information / Appreciation I / Appreciation II


I am emersonj at gmail dot com.

Original materials copyright John J Emerson

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