Terrence Brewer
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Terrence Brewer

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Mar
09
Terrence Brewer @ Uptown Bar and Night Club

Oakland, California, USA

Oakland, California, USA

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Press


"New music from an exciting and gifted young guitarist...Terrence Brewer"...

"New standards are sure to come out of these recordings (The Calling: Volume One and Volume Two)" - KPFA Radio - Greg Bridges


"Brewer is one of the Bay area's oustanding young jazz guitarist" - Bestinsonoma.com


Local man makes good music
By Andrew Gilbert

Terrence Brewer is the kind of musician who takes on the biggest challenges with a smile.

When the Pittsburg-raised player started at Los Medanos College as a music major in the mid-'90s, he was a saxophonist who dabbled in guitar. But then he caught a faculty recital by guitar professor Mike Williams, a fine straight-ahead jazz player, and Brewer decided that he needed to change his ax.

"That was the first time I really heard jazz guitar and thought 'This is such an amazing sound,'" said Brewer, 30, in a recent interview at the Jazzschool. "I was instantly drawn to it, more than saxophone, so I started studying with Mike, and by the next semester I was the lead guitar player in the school ensemble. I fell in love with it and from then on never looked back."

Over the past decade, Brewer has established himself as an accomplished improviser with an exquisite tone. He stakes his claim as an important new Bay Area jazz voice with two simultaneous debut CDs, "The Calling: Volume One" and "The Calling: Volume Two."

The guitarist celebrates the double release tonight at Anna's Jazz Island in downtown Berkeley, where he performs with pianist Ben Stolorow, bassist Ravi Abcarian and drummer Micah McClain -- the cast of "Volume One" -- plus tenor saxophonist Eric Drake. On June 1, he'll be performing music from both albums at Jazz at Pearl's in North Beach, alternating between the "Volume One" quartet and the organ combo featured on the second CD with Drake, rising Hammond B-3 star Wil Blades, and McClain (replacing "Volume Two" drummer Derrek Phillips, of Charlie Hunter Trio fame).

With his compact, handsomely youthful features, Brewer looks like he'd still get carded buying a beer, but his sound is marked by a balance and maturity more often found in much older players. His graceful, well-constructed solos flow thematically out of his compositions, rather than turning his tunes into mere launching pads for displays of technique.

"Terrence has a really beautiful tone," noted Blades, who has worked with many of the best guitarists in the region. "He plays with his fingers, while most jazz guitarists play with a pick, and that adds a much more personal touch. At the recording session, we did everything in one or two takes, which I think is the best way for jazz. It helps that his tunes are interesting, but he's not trying to be too hip. A lot of people take it overboard, and you lose the feeling. Everyone wants to play a billion notes, but Terrence is more concerned about the vibe."

Brewer's confidence in his own music can be seen in his duo debut. Putting out one CD is a financial challenge for most musicians, particularly when the projects are self-produced. But with a bulging book of original compositions, Brewer decided that the time was right to document two sides of his musical personality. While "Volume One" focuses on his modern jazz pieces inspired by the advanced harmonic vocabulary of Wayne Shorter and Lee Morgan, "Volume Two" explores the lean guitar and organ sound honed by guitarist Grant Green and organist Larry Young.

"I've got over 100 working originals," Brewer says. "I would have made an album three or four years ago if I had the capital, but now is when I was actually able to make it happen. I was originally going to put out one release this year, but when I looked at the budget I saw that if I squeezed here and there I could do two, and then Derrek was coming into town with Charlie Hunter, so I jumped at the opportunity to get him in the studio."

Brewer cites jazz guitar greats Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green and Pat Martino as major sources of inspiration, though his frequent work as a solo player has led him to listen closely to artists such as Joe Pass, Howard Alden and George Van Eps. "At the same time I've always thought of myself equally as a composer," Brewer said. "Once I started understanding jazz composition and theory, guys like Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver really influenced me."

Now based in Alameda, Brewer was born in Oklahoma and moved with his family to Pittsburg when he was 8. By the time he graduated from Pittsburg High, he knew he wanted to be a professional musician.

"My first paying gig was as a high school senior, when my French teacher hired us to play a block party that summer," Brewer said with a grin. "That let me know I had the right thing going. I just thought it was the greatest thing ever, to play music and people actually pay you for it."

- Conta Costa Times


...visitors drank in the cool jazz of Alameda jazz guitar impresario Terrance Brewer and his trio. - Santa Rosa Press Democrat


If your notion of jazz was formed by the insipid mush wafting over tired department store speakers, you owe it to yourself to listen to some of Terrence Brewer’s recent work. The gifted Alameda jazz guitarist has recently put the finishing touches on a new two-volume album entitled The Calling, and it’s a fine antidote to those who still think jazz falls under the jurisdiction of grandma’s house.

Brewer is no stranger to the local live jazz scene, putting in regular performances at Mezze in Oakland, Jupiter in Berkeley, Shanghai 1930 in San Francisco and The New Zealander here on the Island. Having studied with Duck Baker, Charlie Hunter and Mark Levine, Brewer has logged more than 20 years as a musician, giving him ample time to polish his gifts as guitarist and composer.

On his new album, Brewer finds himself flanked by good company. Volume One features Brewer on guitar, Ravi Abcarian on acoustic bass, Ben Stolorow on piano and Micah McClain on drums. Volume Two harnesses the talents of Eric Drake on tenor sax, Derrek Phillips on drums, Wil Blades on organ, and Brewer’s nimble digits again on electric guitar.

The offerings on Volume One range from slow, sensuous ballads (beautifully exemplified by “The Way”) to more up-tempo, light-hearted numbers like “Dedication.” Taken as a whole, Volume One feels satisfyingly well-rounded.

Volume Two starts off with “Lately,” a gorgeous, funky, seductive track that intertwines tenor sax, electric guitar and organ, with each instrument given ample space to shine. It’s a beautifully orchestrated number that’s able to meld the sheen of sophistication with a more raw, funk-infused energy. Although one wants to hear further elaboration on the funk-infused rifts heralded by the lead track, the remaining six tracks maintain the intro’s energy and the ear’s interest.

Both volumes prove remarkably versatile in their exploration of a wide range of moods, from upbeat and playful to soothing and hypnotic to funky and seductive, at times all within the space of a single track.

Brewer is clearly a talented musician, able to compose and play with equal grace. His music is capable of invoking the heritage of classical jazz even while stamping it with his own modern imprint. This newest release proves he’s on solid ground, and well worth keeping tabs on as his sound continues to evolve and explore new territory.

This newest album will make you want to uncork that red you’ve been saving, sink into the sofa and savour the jazzy rifts and playful detours of Brewer’s rich sound.
- Alameda Sun


Prolific artist gets prolific exposure
Terrence Brewer's CDs pay tribute to jazz greats
By Brenda Payton, STAFF WRITER

"“Brewer has a distinctive guitar sound and his compositions are rooted in classical jazz standards with a fresh voice. The horizon belongs to him and we are sure to hear more.”

It was one of those quirky occurrences. Someone introduced the name of musician Terrence Brewer, then suddenly it was mentioned everywhere — on the radio, in jazz listings.

Brewer, who recently produced two CDs on a record label he started last year, couldn't be happier.

"I made the CDs to take my visibility in the jazz community to another level," Brewer said. "I feel like it's getting results. We're getting a lot of positive response."

In the previous five days, he had played 11 shows.

Brewer, 30, could easily be mistaken for a teenager. He has a smooth, baby face, especially when he smiles, and wears his hair short. He was dressed conservatively in a maroon shirt and black slacks.

But there's nothing conservative about Brewer's love of and dedication to jazz.

"I work hard, but I love what I do. It's easy to work hard when you love it," he said.

The word "love" crops up frequently when he talks about his music. Unlike many artists, he said he enjoys marketing his music and booking venues.

"I enjoy calling the press and venues. It's as exciting to me as performing. I love the hustle, everything about it."

Brewer's wife, Cat, is an enthusiastic partner in promoting his talent.

And his talent is considerable. He is not only an accomplished guitarist, but a prolific composer as well. He wrote all the music for the two CDs, "Terrence Brewer The Calling: Volume One and Volume Two," and used only a small portion of his repertoire.

"Volume One is all acoustic, bass, piano and guitar. It's my tribute to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock," he said. "Volume Two has a Hammond B-3 organ, drums, tenor sax. The organ adds a bluesier, funkier flavor."

When you hear his music, you're likely to say, "Who is that?" because you want to hear more. He has a distinctive guitar sound. And his compositions are rooted in classical jazz standards with a fresh voice. He said a tune often starts in his head as sketches of an idea or a melody.

"I'll sing it into my phone or a tape recorder to capture it," he said.

He then develops it on a keyboard or on his guitar.

"I make sure all the melodies I play can be sung. I think that's important."

Brewer grew up in Pittsburg and started studying music when he was 9. He knew he wanted to be a professional musician when he was 15. In high school he played with the jazz band, the symphonic band and the marching band, learning both classical and jazz music.

"I always leaned more toward jazz, I guess because of the freedom and individuality. You can say what's in your head and heart," he explained. "I can play the same song every day, and depending on the day and the musicians, it sounds different. It's an amazing feeling."

He started out playing the saxophone. But in college, he attended a concert of his music teacher, Mike Williams, playing jazz guitar.

"I thought, 'Man, that sounds better than the sax.' I was hooked. I have been a jazz guitar player ever since."

He owns seven guitars, including electric and acoustic instruments he uses for different musical jobs. He plays the electric at R&B shows and the acoustic when he performs classical music for weddings. For his compositions, he plays an arch back guitar, a hybrid electric and acoustic. He has two of those.

"It has a warmer sound than an electric because of the size of the body," he explained, unzipping his guitar case to show its arch top. "Because of the structure, it's warmer and rounder, not as bright as an acoustic."

He switches back and forth between the two arch back guitars about every six months.

"I just started playing this one again. I'd played the other one most of last year when we were recording the CDs," he said, joking the guitar felt neglected. "They have slightly different sounds. I like them both. They're both beautiful instruments. I couldn't put one in the closet."

Brewer said people have advised him to go to New York. He's planning a trip in January to check it out, but he loves the Bay Area and wonders whether he's too laid back for New York. The Los Angeles' music scene, closely linked to the film and television industry, is also of interest.

"I would love for someone to ask me to score a movie," he said. "Sometimes I think this song should be in a movie."

The horizon belongs to him. You're sure to hear more from him.

"I would do this for free, I love it so much. The fact that I do it and make a living, It's a dream come true every day."

Brewer plays at Mezze Restaurant, 3407 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, every Sunday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. He will play at Cafe Van Kleef, 1621 Telegraph, Oakland, at 9 p.m. July 1; at San Franci - Oakland Tribune


“I love him. His music is beautiful. Brother Brewer is sayin’ a whole lot. He has his own sound…his own style. He doesn’t sound like anyone else….when I hear Terrence Brewer, I know it’s him.”
- Calvin Keys, June 2006
- KPFA Radio (94.1)


Brewer is a "Jazz Tour De Force..." - Marin Independant Journal


A naturally gifted player with a beautiful, warm tone and a melodic penchant, his [Brewer's] playing is eminently pleasing...There's a certain mellowness and sheen cast over the proceedings that will appeal more to contempo fan... - Written by Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times


The songs unfold easily, almost seductively and then you find yourself not wanting them to go away. Their secret? Melodies. It's how he [Brewer] keeps the music fresh. Brewer has a natural, inviting sound that instantly transports you back to the heyday of classic jazz guitar…” - Written by David Rubien, San Francisco Chronicle


Discography

- QuintEssential: The Calling Volume Three (2008)
- "The Calling: Volume One and Volume Two" (2006)
- Guitar on Vocalist Michele Lane's Project "Letting Go" (2005)
- "Where There is Love" (w/vocalist Mary Freeberg) (2001)

Photos

Bio

Winner, SF Weekly Music Award, Best Jazz Artist
Winner, Oakland Chamber of Commerce "Artist of the Year" Award

"[Brewer is] A naturally gifted player with a beautiful, warm tone and a melodic penchant, his playing is eminently pleasing"
- Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times, May '07

“(Brewer) is one of the reasons the San Francisco Bay area Jazz scene looks promising…”
- Dan King, San Francisco Chronicle, January 2007

"One of the jewels of the Bay area music scene!"
- Greg Bridges, KCSM(91.1FM) & KPFA (94.5FM) DJ

Jazz Guitarist Terrence Brewer "...Bay area's newest rising star!" - Lisa Chan, KPIX CBS 5 News Anchor

"...a skilled and gifted guitarist!" - Chris Cortez, DJ/Producer KCSM, FM 91.1 'The Bay area's jazz station'

San Francisco Bay area jazz guitarist Terrence Brewer is back with a new album, a new band, and a fresh sound! QuintEssential, produced by Strong Brew Music and recorded at the world famous Fantasy Studios, is the highly anticipated follow up to Brewer’s debut records, The Calling: Volume One and Volume Two (April 2006). QuintEssential returns Ben Stolorow (piano), Ravi Abcarian (acoustic bass), and Micah McClain (drums) from The Calling: Volume One and adds, Berkelee School of music alum and Bay area resident, Kasey Knudsen on saxophones. Ranging from hard driving swing to soulful backbeat grooves to infectious Afro-Cuban textures, QuintEssential features nine of Brewer’s original compositions.

As one of the last recordings at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA before the studio closed its doors in September 2007, QuintEssential is a rare treasure. 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 just to name a few recorded, mixed, and mastered the project.

“Brewer has a natural, inviting sound that instantly transports you back to the heyday of classic jazz guitar…” writes David Rubien (San Francisco Chronicle feature, March 20, 2007). "(Brewer is) A naturally gifted player with a beautiful, warm tone and a melodic penchant, his playing is eminently pleasing…" penned Bill Milkowski (Jazz Times May 2007). Brewer’s playing has been hailed as, “powerful”, “smooth”, “beautiful”, “mature”, and “graceful” and The Calling: Volume One and Volume Two albums have been referred to as, “seductive”, “sensuous”, and “gorgeous”. Andy Gilbert (Contra Costa Times) remarks, “Over the past decade, Brewer has established himself as an accomplished improviser with an exquisite tone. His (Brewer) sound is marked by a balance and maturity…” while 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 Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, and 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. Other notable Bay area jazz performances include venues such The Jazz School, Herbst Theater, Anna’s Jazz Island, Café Van Kleef, Café Claude, Jupiter.

Residing in Alameda, California, Brewer’s aggressive marketing and business acumen aided him in leading his own instrumental and vocal groups in nearly 2000 shows throughout California in the last seven years. In addition to this impressive feat, Brewer possesses the rich experience of performing with legendary artists such as Pete Escovedo, Herb Gibson, Kim Nalley, Calvin Keyes, Bruce Forman, Scott Amendola, Khalil Shaheed, Max Perkoff, Ed Kelly, Michael Zilber, Duwaan Muhammad, Tuck and Patti, and many others. In addition to performing with great artists, Brewer’s fate led him to study with musical greats such as Charlie Hunter, Duck Baker, and Mark Levine, and Tom Pattitucci.

With the release of The Calling: Volume One and Volume Two, in the spring of 2006, Brewer garnered a tremendous amount of media attention and recognition. In June of 2006, long time Oakland Tribune columnist Brenda Payton wrote, “Brewer has a distinctive guitar sound and his compositions are rooted in classical jazz standards with a fresh voice. The horizon belongs to him and we are sure to hear more.” Writing for the Contra Costa Times (May 2006) consummate Jazz and Cultural Arts writer Andy Gilbert proclaimed, “Over the past decade, Brewer has established himself as an accomplished improviser with an exquisite tone… His sound is marked by a balance and maturity more often found in much older players. [Brewer’s] graceful, well-constructed solos flow thematically out of his compositions, rather than turning his tunes into mere launching pads for displays of technique.” Dan King of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, “(Brewer) is one of the reasons the Bay area Jazz scene looks promising…”.

In addition to printed press, Brewer found