Thanks For Good Ole’ Music And Memories
Nic Allen Music Federation
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © January 2023
Although she was playing shows at the age of twelve and cutting records shortly thereafter, Jewel Brown is best known for her work during her nearly decade long stint (1961-1968) singing with Louis Armstrong and His All-Star Band. In the early 70s, she took a break from music to spend the next thirty years as a “successful entrepreneur” instead of a “successful entertainer”.
Interestingly, it was during her retired years when Jewel was inducted into the Blues Smithsonian (2007); received a congressional acknowledgement for her contribution to the arts (2015); and was honored by Houston, TX Mayor Sylvester Turner, when he declared December 12, 2000, as “Jewel Brown Day“. But her story isn’t over yet because in her mid-80’s, Jewel Brown is back. As Living Blues put it: “Reintroducing the one and only, legendary Jewel Brown. The most jazzy-blues singer on earth.”
Thanks For Good Ole’ Music And Memories contains ten tracks with seven being collaborations between Jewel and Nic Allen, the album’s producer. The many musicians backing up the fabulous vocals of Ms. Brown include: Robert Clayton Sanders on keyboard; Clayton Dyesse on guitar; Joshua Washington on bass; John Fontenot on drums; Dwayne Williams Sr. on percussion; Christopher Cotton and Eli Micheaux on trumpet; Wycliffe Gordon II on alto and tenor saxophones; Nic Allen on bass and background vocals; with Zedekiah Franklin and Dashon Brown on background vocals. Additional musicians, who – with some of the others already mentioned – are part of groups called the RADS Krusaders and Live! In The Clutch, include: Mark Scurlock Jr on saxophones, Yul Dorn Jr on drums, Al T. Alexander Jones Jr on keyboard and organ, Nic Allen on bass, Jarvis Hooper on trombone.
The disc opens with a rhythm driven rumba titled “Jerry” (H. Belafonte & L. Burgess), a fifties hit for Harry Belafonte that was fully titled “Did You Hear About Jerry?” Oddly enough, the song is about the life of a troubled mule…. I think. The reason I say I think, is there’s a line in the song where Jewel sassily tells of her man coming home after being out drinking and gambling and he’s just too tired to take care of ‘home work’, and that’s when she calls Jerry….I’m just leaving it at that. With lots of heat coming from the full horn section, the track is highlighted by fabulous percussion from Dwayne.
This original is titled “Pain And Glory” but it could have easily been titled “The Gospel According To Jewel”. It’s an inspirational spoken word type presentation that features several members of the band providing the outstanding background music – with their voices.
Another original titled, “Nitches And Glitches”, finds Jewel addressing the antics of her game playing lover. As it turns out, it’s the other ‘itches’ not mentioned in the title that are the real cause of her frustration, anger and attitude. It all becomes clear as she exclaims “I’m, tired of all your nitches and glitches… and all them funky bitches”. Another powerful rhythm track led by strong drumming from John, outstanding organ leads by T. Alexander, and sizzling horn arrangements.
“Song Of The Dreamer” (Eddie Curtis), which was written by her ex, is my favorite song of the lot. It was like two different songs that became one. On one hand, when I focused on the jazzy groove the band was in, it sounded like I was listening to an instrumental being performed by a 6-piece jazz band, and on the other hand, when I focused on the fabulous voice of Jewel, it sounded like I was listening to an intimate solo performance. All of it coming together was nothing short of a masterful production.
Another original that showcases the amazing vocal skills and versatility that Jewel Brown possesses is “On The Road”. It’s a soft and silky ballad where the band is in an easy groove which allows Jewel to shine with style, sass and even some scat.
Other songs on this quite jazzy and very blues disc include: “Why Did You Do That?”; “Which Way Is Up?” (N. Whitfield); “Flatitude”; “I Love Sunshine Even More Than Rainy Nights”; and “How Did It Go?”
should like to find out more about Jewel Brown, just go to – www.officialjewelbrown.com. Remember, wherever you go and whomever you speak with, please tell them their friend the Blewzzman sent you.
“The Blues Is My Passion And Therapy“
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award Recipient