Ari Brown is blowing up

Ari Brown is profiled.

Yet Brown’s profile has ascended, perhaps inevitably. Listen to the deep well of sound he coaxes from his tenor, as well as the relentless creativity of his solos, and it’s impossible to deny the man’s artistic stature. When Brown picks up his horn, everything else on the bandstand sounds a little smaller.

No wonder the University of Illinois at Chicago recently recruited him.

“I think the first move I made [at UIC] was to hire Ari,” says Orbert Davis, director of jazz studies at UIC. “Ari is the epitome of the jazz musician for me. He lives the music, he’s forever searching for new things.”

You can hear it in Brown’s work, which crystallizes the philosophies of the biggest musical influence in his life—the Association for the Advancement for Creative Musicians. Brown was just finding his way as a musician, in the early 1960s, when the South Side collective of innovative musicians was taking shape. Its quest to perpetually redefine jazz through new sounds, unorthodox techniques and novel instrumentation inspired Brown to put music at the center of his life.

Since then, Brown has worked with generations of jazz luminaries, from Roscoe Mitchell to Anthony Braxton to Kahil El’Zabar, embracing their penchant for the experimental.

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