NOVEMBER COTTON FLOWER SONG
Amina Claudine Myers
Poems for Piano: The Piano Music of Marion Brown
Sweet Earth : 1979
While on the surface this would appear to be a combination of the AACM (Myers was an important early member of the Chicago association) and the New Thing out of New York (one of Brown’s first significant recordings was Coltrane’s Ascension), it’s much more a meeting of two musical minds that draw on their Southern roots for inspiration. In Marion Brown, Myers found a kindred spirit with which to launch her debut recording as a leader. On Brown’s short-lived Sweet Earth label, no less.
“November Cotton Flower” appears on Marion Brown’s 1979 album of the same name. Myers captures some of the swirl of the original, while putting her own spin on the tune. One can hear elements of AACM leader Muhal Richard Abrams in Myers’ attack, though much of the phrasing and treatment of the melodic aspects of the tune are all Myers.
For “Sunday Comedown,” Myers draws on her experience playing for church choirs in delivering a beautiful and soulful take on Brown’s gospelized original. (Was this ever recorded by Brown?) Its pure beauty owes as much (if not more) to the musical incubator that was rural Arkansas, as it does the hotbeds of innovation in 1960s Chicago and New York.
& & &
For more on Myers:
> A wonderful interview conducted by George Lewis, at BOMB, 2006
> A detailed bio from a booking agency’s site
> Hear a few tracks at ACM’s myspace page
> And for additional context on Marion Brown, in addition to notes on the album featured above, here’s a typically sensitive take by Brian Olewnick