A much different and worthwhile jazz album
A. Benjamin | Goodwell, OK United States | 11/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A few words of caution: Afternoon of Georgia Faun is not your ordinary jazz album, your ordinary free/avant-garde jazz album, and much different from anything else Marion Brown had done to that point. The two lengthy pieces don't swing. There is none of the overt fury that normally characterizes free jazz. Instead, Brown and crew create an impressionistic soundscape that for me evokes early childhood memories of summer afternoons in rural northeast Texas (not quite Georgia, but close enough). The sound of the birds, insects, the breeze blowing on the leaves, the sultriness of the hot and humid summer afternoons -- it's all there. The social and political turmoil of the day is never too far away (and it's never gone away), but for the moment is suspended. This album is about the rhythm, the pulse of life itself. Highly recommended."
The Greatest 'Environmental Sounds' Album I've Ever Heard
Michael Paull | lawrence, kansas United States | 09/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And that's likely not even it's aim: to appear on the same CD rack at a Borders or Hastings under the heading "Ambient/Environmental" along with "Sounds of a Vermont Rainstorm", or "Owls & Crickets under an Idaho Skyline", or any other such thing. Although I believe these kinds of recordings are perfectly fine (and have even owned a couple myself), I found the experience of listening, over time, to be...well... kind of artificial, if you know what I mean. The crickets, owls, etc., are all very real, and recorded quite faithfully, but...
So one day, a number of years ago, I was out spending some of my weekly paycheck at a record store, and picked up a couple of albums by saxophonist Marion Brown, because I was interested in Avant-Garde Jazz, and anything similar. The first one was the legendary "Porto Novo", and it fit the bill perfectly. The second was this one.
Nothing even close to what I was expecting.
If you're reading this review, then chances are you've already checked out the first critique, written above. What it describes, as far as the SOUND of this recording-particularly of the piece called "Afternoon Of A Georgia Fawn"-is accurate and as good as you can get with mere words. The listener is truly swept into another place, and that place seems to be the middle of some seriously wet and green deep Southern woods. There are no melodies, no chords, not even anything resembling music as we would recognize it, in the traditional sense. Just what would seem to be a kind of painting with sounds, as closely as I can describe it.
And where I fail in my description, this piece, for which the album was named, succeeds brilliantly. You are taken to this place, and your senses filled with all these sounds that absolutely, and beautifully create the entire atmosphere and setting of that "Afternoon..." And the clincher is that the sounds were all made, not by the inhabitants of the woods themselves, via a field recording mic, but by the musicians on this album. And as far as I know, there was no attempt to duplicate the exact sound of any bird, insect, etc. It is all simply an inspired expression of whatever the people on the recording at that time (Brown, particularly) felt the title suggested to them.
Which brings me back to the meaning of my title for this review, and the things I said in the first paragraph. This is truly the first album I would ever reach for, if I wanted to hear the 'voice of nature' coming out of my stereo in my living room, and in a way that would feel like a more authentic listening experience than what one of the actual 'Environments' CD's I bought from a suburban outlet might really be able to provide.
Finally, I should mention something about the piece called "Djinji's Corner". It is also very abstract, although it does work off some actual 'musical' phrases and ideas, more than its sister piece on the album. It does not hit me as powerfully, though, but that may change over time. What I can say for sure, is that in terms of contrast, it provides a nice foil for "Afternoon..." It balances the album in a way that few pieces, I think, could.
What else can be said? One of those rare albums that came along in my life, and profoundly changed me as a listener.
I hope it will do the same for you."