The California Browns Project
Night of a Thousand Rains

Marcie Brown, cello, vocals, piano, synths, and hand claps; Terry Brown, piano, synths, guitar, vocals, rain stick, and hand claps; Paul McCandless, saxes, oboe, English horn, and pennywhistle; Alan Hall, drums; Mingo Lewis, percussion and vocal quika; Bill Douglass, upright bass; David Lisle, lounge piano; John Blake, violin; Kit Walker, Jazz piano; Augustin, spoken Spanish; the Suaviro Singers, vocals

The presence of Paul McCandless makes sense, given how some of the organic moods are reminiscent of Oregon. The melodies are gorgeous without ever losing complexity. Unlike what Oregon offered, there are three vocal cuts, all of which fit the mood perfectly. There's no reason at all, apart from the constrictions of radio, that a group like this couldn't gather a monstrous following on a Jazz lite station - as well as the more traditional ones. They've got the accessibility and passion (real, as opposed to the affected somberness of those damned fake flamenco trios) that would win over all those baby boomers who long ago tired of their simplistic New Age albums. As a hardcore Circle K-prone urbanite, I'm embarrassed to admit that I found myself thinking of redwoods during most of the cuts. Nice to hear from John Blake again, whose adventurous work on the Gramavision label was never given the credit it was due.

by Dave McElfresh

New Sounds - CD Reviews March 2000