A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by Jimmy Baikovicius via

“I have a lot of trouble coming up with a title,” says Alex Brown. “That’s one of the reasons I write music. I get these feelings that I can’t put into words.”

The young pianist’s international career began in 2007, when the legendary Cuban reedist Paquito D’Rivera first heard him perform in Washington, D.C. After a month-long silence following the concert, Alex received a call from D’Rivera, who told him that he “sounded pretty good…even on that plastic piano!” In the last few years, Alex has toured the world with D’Rivera, and shared a 2010 GRAMMY nomination for his contributions to D’Rivera’s album, Jazz-Clazz (Termidor). Alex’s sideman résumé also includes performances with Miguel Zenón, as well as Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

In addition to growing notoriety in jazz circles, Alex is also building a reputation as a classical musician: he has recorded and performed with the Imani Winds, as well as with the clarinetist Sabine Meyer, and has joined major orchestras in concert in the United States, Mexico, Chile, and Spain. He recently finished his first commission for orchestra.

Amidst these other obligations, Alex also performs regularly his own quintet. The group made a memorable debut at The Gallery last September with D’Rivera as a special guest. On Thursday, we will welcome Alex and his quintet back to our stage, with this iteration of the band including another venerable Cuban-born saxophonist: Jazz Gallery veteran Yosvany Terry. Paulo Stagnaro will return on percussion, while drummer Ludwig Afonso and Alex’s brother and bassist Zach Brown will complete the lineup. This concert will be Alex’s second as a part of our Debut Series, which enables us not only to present new artists, but also to continue to cultivate their talents through return performances.

Take a listen to selections from Alex’s debut album Pianist (Sunnyside 2010).