The Brown Beatnik Tomes – Live at BRIC House is a unique and powerful collaboration between poet/artist Danny Simmons and legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter. This live recording from BRIC in Brooklyn captured Simmons reading poetry from his collection “The Brown Beatnik Tomes” with projections of his own striking abstract expressionist paintings providing the stage backdrop while Carter performs on bass.
Simmons and Carter aren’t alone on The Brown Beatnik Tomes – Live at BRIC House. Carter’s trio, pianist Donald Vega and guitarist Russell Malone, assemble for a pair of instrumentals including the breezy, “Here’s to Oscar” (a tribute to pioneering bebop bassist Oscar Pettiford). A guest performance by playwright, actor, and Def Poetry alum Liza Jessie Peterson bringing her spoken word to the mesmeric “Where Do I Begin”.
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Rock & Roll GlobeBack in October of 2015, poet Danny Simmons and the bass playing jazz legend Ron Carter took the stage at the BRIC House to play a set for the venue’s Jazz Festival. While Cater improvised, Simmons performed poems from his most recent book, The Brown Beatnik Tomes. Carter’s nuanced improvisations fit perfectly with the powerful images Simmons conjured with his words. The evening was recorded and has just … Read More... about Danny Simmons & Ron Carter: The Brown Beatnik Speaks, The Jazz Legend Plays
GobuzEven the Guinness Book of Records says so: Ron Carter has been involved in the production of over 2,200 albums! At 82 years old, the double bass player extraordinaire still has things left to say. And he does so here, with this live album co-written with Danny Simmons. Not very well known in Europe, Simmons is none other than the older brother of Joseph Simmons (Run in Run-DMC) and Russell Simmons (producer and co-founder of label … Read More... about Ron Carter of Bars
All MusicRecorded at Brooklyn's BRIC House, The Brown Beatnik Tomes features bassist Ron Carter collaborating with poet and painter Read More... about Ron Carter / Danny Simmons The Brown Beatnik Tomes: Live at BRIC House
Jazz WeeklyIn case you’re under 70 and don’t know who the name Maynard G Krebs, he was the fictional beatnik character, complete with bongos and goatee, on the classic 50s TV show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Well, if that show were still around (and it was a clever one), this album with the famed bassist Ron Carter (along with his trio of guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Donald Vega) teamed with poet/artist Danny … Read More... about MAYNARD G KREBS LIVES! Ron Carter & Danny Simmons: The Brown Beatnik Tomes
THE BROWN BEATNIK TOMES
On one autumn night at Brooklyn’s BRIC House, Carter and Simmons turned raw-plucked bass lines and hotly read poetry into something that rang with meaning and felt like magic. What they created that night was, and still is, called The Brown Beatnik Tomes. It had began as a book, became an event, and is now an album. But what it really is, is an irresistible concept.
“I was trying to imagine myself as a Beat Generation poet in the ’50s,” says Simmons, “and how my concerns would be a bit different from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s or Allen Ginsberg’s. In a way, the beatniks romanticized black people. They were hip, but they didn’t really see the plight. That scene largely was about the Negro experience but didn’t have the Negro in it.” Thus, the pieces that appear here match the visual language, jazz patter, and energetic immediacy of the best of the Beats — Ginsberg’s Howl is one of Simmons’ all-time favorites — but the point of view has shifted 180 degrees, from voyeur to source. And who better to accompany this remix of history than a man who lived through it — Carter was in his 20s, working in New York, during the era.
“I was not participating in the Beat movement,” says the man who’s played on radical albums by Gil Scott-Heron and A Tribe Called Quest alike. “Those were white guys saying what they were saying. I was involved in the black community, playing with people like [folk singer] Leon Bibb. A similar thing was happening there, and my music was trying to support that.” Here, Carter finds himself continuing that tradition, walking his bass ever so off-kilter beneath lines like (from the title track): “I dreamed I saw Bob Dylan pay homage to an effigy of LeRoi Jones on burning Newark streets rattling a necklace of harmonicas at passersby on slave ships roaring down the streets of history, jig dancing for loose change and selling lines of poems for a pittance’s sake.”
Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz history, with more than 2,200 albums to his credit, an accomplishment honored in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records. He has recorded with greats including: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, and Bobby Timmons, Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy and Cannonball Adderley.
From 1963 to 1968, Ron was a member of the classic and acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet. He was named Outstanding Bassist of the Decade by the Detroit News, Jazz Bassist of the Year by Downbeat magazine, and MVP by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He earned two Grammy awards, one in 1993 for Best Jazz Instrumental Group, and another in 1998 for “Call Sheet Blues” from the film “Round Midnight”.
Danny Simmons is a contemporary abstract expressionist artist, poet and author from Queens, NY. His artwork can be seen all over the world in such prominent establishments as Chase Manhattan Bank, The Smithsonian, the United Nations, Deutsche Bank collection and more.
Among the most impressive artists of his day, The New York Times says that he “injects freshness” into his abstracts, and that they are “meticulously rendered and decoratively impressive.”
Simmons is also an author of six books of art, poetry and fiction. He is also the Tony-winning co-founder of Def Poetry Jam, which made such an impact that Def Poetry is now offered as an elective at the University of Wisconsin.
Co-founder – along with his siblings, music mogul Russell, and hip hop legend Joseph Simmons aka “Rev Run” – and president of the Rush Arts Gallery, Simmons is also founder and VP of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization “dedicated to providing disadvantaged urban youth with significant arts exposure and access to the arts,” as well as a former board member of the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Public Library, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Conference of Artists.
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The Brown Beatnik Tomes – Danny Simmons
The Brown Beatnik Tomes presents a collection of prose and paintings from artist and entrepreneur Danny Simmons; this is his most wide reaching and multi-disciplined project to date. Among the most impressive artists of his day, The New York Times says that he “injects freshness” into his abstracts, and that they are “meticulously rendered and decoratively impressive”. Simmons’ work can be seen all over the world and in such prominent establishments as Chase Manhattan Bank, The Smithsonian, the United Nations and more. His work is highly respected within the art world and he has become extremely collectible. Foreword by Russell Simmons.