Alameda Sun
March 7, 2008

Julia Park-Tracy

Alameda jazz guitarist Terrence Brewer is back with a new album, a new band and a fresh sound. His newest record, QuintEssential, produced by his independent production company, Strong Brew Music, and recorded at Berkeley's Fantasy Studios, is the follow-up to Brewer's debut double album, The Calling: Volume One and Volume Two (April 2006). The new CD will be released March 17 at Yoshi's at Jack London Square.

QuintEssential brings back Ben Stolorow, piano, Ravi Abcarian, acoustic bass, and Micah McClain, drums, from The Calling: Volume One and adds Berklee School of Music alum and Bay Area resident Kasey Knudsen on saxophones, and of course, Brewer himself. QuintEssential features nine of Brewer's original compositions.

This was his first time writing for a quintet, as the previous two albums were created with his trio and quartet.

"There's more backbeat and groove this time," Brewer said. "There are some new songs, and some updated (personal favorites). Some (of the songs) are straight ahead swing and Latin, but (there's) more groove...I love R&B, hip-hop, funk. As a writer I do tend to write from those genres as well."

Brewer said that although audiences enjoy all of his material, "The groove-based stuff would really captivate the audience."

Overall, whether performing live or recording, "There's a fine balance to being a jazz artist — between what you love and what they love and what sells."

The new album was one of the last recordings at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley before the studio closed its doors in September 2007.

Chief engineer Stephen Hart, most notably known in the jazz world for recording McCoy Tyner, Joe Pass, Flora and Airto, Oscar Peterson, and Branford Marsalis to name a few, recorded, mixed and mastered the project.

Since his debut two years ago, Brewer has garnered praise left, right and center. He was named the Oakland Chamber of Commerce artist of the year and the San Francisco Chronicle included Brewer in a short list of "whom to stalk" in Bay Area jazz in 2007.

Brewer's performances include sold out shows at Jazz At Pearl's, and standing-room-only performances at Kuumbwa Jazz Center (Santa Cruz), and SF Jazz Summer Concert Series at Stanford Shopping Center. Brewer has also performed to standing ovations at the Sonoma Jazz, Fillmore Jazz, Montclair Jazz and Marin Jazz Festivals, as well as venues like The Jazz School, Herbst Theater, Anna's Jazz Island and Café van Kleef.

Brewer's marketing and business acumen aided him in leading his own instrumental and vocal groups in nearly 2,000 shows throughout California in the last seven years.

The new record is already doing well, Brewer said, before its official release.

QuintEssential is number 30 on JazzWeek, which counts airplay in jazz stations across the country, counting actual spins. "It's hopefully climbing," he added.

Brewer is already working on his next records — album number four has been recorded and he's laying down tracks for number five.

With The Calling, he sold out Yoshi's last March, and hopes to do so again this month.

"It looks good and it sounds good," he said with some pride.

Link to Original Article