Big Brooklyn Red
Big Brooklyn Red
(courtesy of Big Brooklyn Red)
Big Brooklyn Red's self-released album, "Foreword," doesn't seem like the work of a neophyte. The tones of this album are deep and mature. His vocal skills are complimented by soulful, organic tracks that resonate with his passionate and powerful voice. The comparisons to great voices like Marvin, Stevie and Donny that seem to accompany every new release of every new male vocalist in the genre actually fit Big Brooklyn Red. Not that he sounds like anyone other than himself but you can feel a presence in his talent, a presence that predates him.
Big Brooklyn Red is an improvisationalist. Freestyling is Brooklyn's trademark. Aside from performing select songs from his album, his live performances are complete improvisations. There is no conversation about the music prior to the downbeat and rarely is the same configuration of musicians repeated. Music is freedom. Big Brooklyn Red's music is an expression of that freedom and of the power in letting the creative spirit flow. It is a deeply spiritual and transcendent experience for Brooklyn to share with his audience. His performances are his place of worship, a time where he can communicate both from and to the soul in a language he calls "the Mother Tongue." Music is the Mother Tongue as well as God's first and best language and is meant to be shared with the whole world.
To see him live or in the studio is akin to witnessing a Shaman commune with spirits long past. He hardly ever writes a song in the traditional sense. The usual recording process is for him to (once the track is ready) just open his mouth and let out whatever is in him or coming through him. Editing is rarely necessary and saved for a final "Golden Take."
If he does "write"a song, it is when and wherever the inspiring force grabs him. People have often seen Big Brooklyn Red walking down the street chanting lyrics like some kind of monk until he can get to a pen and pad. Most of his best written work appears on cocktail napkins and brown paper bags.
Big Brooklyn Red is an artist unlimited by the conventions of the industry. He can apply his style to any music because his approach is organic, he feeds off of what is happening at the moment. That kind of gift is a two edge sword. On the upside, is the fact that you can hear Big Brooklyn Red's voice on many different and diverse projects. He has recorded house tracks, two of which," Shine Your Light On Me" and "I Got Sunshine" are getting serious play and recognition both here and overseas. He has recorded for a long list of NY/Miami/LA artists of many genres including hip-hop, spoken word, alternative rock, jungle/drum and bass as well as doing drops for local DJ mix CDs. There is even a gospel song with Big Brooklyn Red's vocal on it charting across the Bible Belt (although the producers may have to be brought to justice before that recording could be counted as a positive experience.) The downside unfortunately is that most of the powers that be need their artists in a box. Big Brooklyn Red's talent is not one that can be contained. Rather than continue to argue that point with the A&R du jour, this album is the first offering for the masses.
Big Brooklyn Red is not new to the game. As a member of the CityKids Foundation Repertory Company, Brooklyn's career was launched in 1990, performing an original composition with Herbie Hancock and Branford Marsalis at the St. James Theatre on Broadway - which was later re-created with the late Grover Washington, Jr., for television. As an alumni he was also a featured singer on the "CityKids 10 Year Anniversary" broadcast on ABC in 1996. In 1994 he started his first band "eli & the bluesound project" and continued honing his performance chops while stretching the boundaries of music on the New York scene. The Brooklyn native moved to Miami in 1997 and over his five years there made his mark as the premiere soul singer in South Florida. In 1998 he was joined by fellow Brooklynite and former City kid Hassan and formed the hip-hop/neo-classic soul group "A Long Way from Sunday." During the 2001/02 NBA season Big Brooklyn Red and the Miami Funk All Stars were the house band for the Miami Heat.
Every Friday night home game they did the National Anthem, a few time-outs, halftime, and the post game party. And as of September 30th, 2003, Big Brooklyn Red can also call himself a "Showtime at the Apollo" Champion.
Big Brooklyn Red, a Brooklynite, is constantly on the move.He has toured the U.S., changed his base of operations from NY to Miami to LA and back. He has done a grassroots tour of the U.S. singing the National Anthem for NFL/NBA games as well as open mics and featured performances in cities along the way. Additionally, Brooklyn completed a tour of the UK in support of "Organic Soul v. 3,"a compilation that includes three tracks from Big Brooklyn Red's album, Foreword. He now splits time between NYC and MIA and will soon be adding DC and ATL to his regular appearance schedule. In the meantime, Brooklyn records tirelessly for his next release.
Big Brooklyn Red is a man on a mission and unlike many of today's manufactured superstars, he has and continues to walk the walk.