Peter Brown,
Marie-Claude
(self-produced, 2002)

The cover of the CD Marie-Claude is graced with a photo of a charming metallic statue of a woman whose face is hidden by a large hat. Acoustic piano player and vocalist Peter Brown wears many hats of his own -- teacher, accompanist, composer, member of several bands and contributor to theatre and radio productions.

Brown is a resident of Carleton Place, Ontario, a small community outside of Ottawa. He says his first CD is a collection of piano improvisations that crosses several genres. "The only common threads are that it's all music I like, played exclusively on acoustic instruments and somewhat 'old timey' in style and sound," says Brown.

Perhaps Marie-Claude is a bride because this collection offers something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue (make that several things blue). Brown plays a mean acoustic piano and is accompanied Ken Kanwisher on acoustic bass, Steve Lund on drums and Roger Plant on guitar.

The old includes an interesting acoustic piano sendup of "Amazing Grace." The new comprise Peter Brown compositions including the light and graceful classical composition "Marie-Claude," the bluesy ballad "The Choices We Make," the upbeat "Sunshine Boogie" and the earnest love song "I Must Love You." The something borrowed include A.J. Croce's "I Know Better Now" and Bill Trader's "Fool Such as I." The blue refers to Errol Garner's "Boogie Woogie Boogie," Horace Silver's "Cape Verdean Blues" and Cedar Walton's "The Holy Land."

But things aren't always as they seem. According to Brown, the "Phrygian Tango" isn't really a tango and isn't always in the Phrygian scale (I'll have to take his word on this), while "Cape Verdean Blues" isn't really a blues number and doesn't come from Cape Verde.

What this CD offers is an upbeat blend of entertaining music in a combination of styles and moods. Brown is at his best with his own material, which really shines. Play this relaxing album after a hard day's work or anytime you need to unwind.

- Rambles
written by Joyce MacPhee
published 8 February 2003