Born: July 2, 1952 Primary Instrument: Bass, electric
Glen Browne: bassist extraordinaire, producer, and bandleader
During the 1970s when America’s best ever sibling group, The Jackson Five, produced a flood of Top 10 hits, and the Sylvers created a surfable swell, a Jamaican equivalent, The Browne Bunch, consisting of school-aged brothers Glen, Dalton, Noel, Cleveland and Danny Browne, was generating small ripples across Reggaeland
Glen, the eldest, born on July 2, 1952, was the first with the intense desire for music and the other brothers followed in his footsteps. They would, however, create a family tradition that trickled down to the next generation
Glen Browne started out in entertainment as a sound system (disco) operator during the late 1960s. But, “I was always attracted to the bass [guitar], he recalls. His early musical taste was influenced by the diverse music played by various members of his family.
But, as Glen recounts, “From the age of 14 I was buying jazz records which my friends found very funny. I got attracted to the bass at an early age and when the opportunity arose I would sneak out to watch and listen to Lyn Tate & the Comets and the Skatalites, the top Ska bands of those days.
He launched out as a singer but Glen Browne as a singer was short-lived. Still, his heart was set on being a bass player, he seized an opportunity to be a percussionist with the Mickey Chung led Virtues band. “That was really where I got further inspired by bass player Val Douglas”, he noted.
At age 17, his father bought him a bass guitar, after two attempts, and his fervent practice saw him, there years later, playing base on The Browne Bunch fourth recording, Choo Choo Train. Not long after he joined up with The Falcon band that was in need a bass player.
Today, Glen Browne is a virtuoso bassist on both electric and upright bass, in reggae and jazz, earning much respect among musicians in Jamaica and in other parts of the world.
“ I worked on Electric Boogie, produced by Bunny Wailer and sung by Marcia Griffiths” The immensely popular song became a hit in the USA in 1989, seven years after it was recorded and even inspired the Ric Silver created dance, The Electric Slide. Glen later did commercial jingles with both the famed Jamaican pianist Peter Ashbourne and saxophonist Cedric Brooks.
“This was when I started getting into jazz, Browne explains. Encouraged by Ashbourne he actually enrolled at the prestigious Jamaica School of Music but dropped out after a couple weeks. “I bought all the books I can and became self-taught”, he explained. .
Throughout, Glen Browne has struck a good balance between being a session musician and a live performer. He has toured with the best of the lot, including Jimmy Cliff and Ziggy Marley and has done recordings with Alpha Blondy and R&B crooner Charlie Pride. And, Browne glittering bass is captured on the score of the film Muppet Treasure Island behind Ziggy Marley and his siblings group.
On the jazz circuit, Browne as produced and played with Monty Alexander both on record and in live performances. His Monty Alexander credits include Stir It Up: The Music of Bob Marley (1999), My America (2002), Goin’ Yard, a live set recorded at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild on which Glen Browne played bass while his twin son Robert contributed on guitars. He would produce Monty's latest work Concrete Jungle: The Music of Bob Marley and was closely involved with Monty Meets Sly & Robbie. He is also credited on Ernest Ranglin’s recent CD, Surfin’.
The Jamaican bassist has played prestigious venues as Ronnie Scott Jazz Club (London), the Blue Note (Japan), the Village Cafe (New York) and Kultur Casino (Berne, Switzerland).
Glen Browne has schooled and recorded a number of seasoned campaigners like Robbie Lyn (Making Notes) and fresh new artists like Kamau (Sight Up) on his Island Treasure Record label.
published: Sunday | September 2, 2007
Carolyn Johnson, Freelance Writer
Israel is another good place for touring, veteran bass player Glen Browne told The Sunday Gleaner. Browne has toured with the likes of Luciano, Jimmy Cliff, Monty Alexander and Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, as he puts it, all over the world.
Having worked with numerous reggae artistes, Browne has been on tour in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Kenya, Japan, North America and the Caribbean, to name a few countries and regions.
Instrumental albums could play second fiddle
published: Sunday | March 4, 2007
Glen Browne, musician and producer, who co-produced on two of pianist Monty Alexander's Marley tribute albums, Stir It Up and Concrete Jungle, and also co-produced on Robbie Lyn's Making Notes, says there is still a place and market for instrumental music.
They categorise that type of music as 'Adult Contemporary', but what I find - because like my son, Robert Browne, he did an album called Birth - and I found on a couple of occasions, like when he performed at Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues, people were asking for the album and it was a mix of young and old, Browne said.
It depends on the era they cover, because even when people listen to Robbie Lyn's album with songs like Cherish The Love or Wild World, it takes people back to the days when they use to court. But like Robert (Browne), he had mostly originals and people appreciate the difference. So there is an audience for both eras, he said.
Browne also made further comparisons with the likes of guitaristsDwight Pinkney and Wayne Armond, saying They are in the same age group and they cater for an audience who would be in that age group who could easily relate to songs that they cover, while younger players like Dubwise (Robert Browne), come with newer ideas and there is a song on his album, Bob Marley's Sun Is Shining, that many people now gravitate to.
Browne says Each has its own genre and market, some bigger than others, like even with Monty Meets Sly and Robbie, done for Telarc Records, that had a great appeal because of the selection of songs. Sly chose songs coming from the 70s era, like People Make The World Go Round, Chameleon, Soulful Strut, Mercy Mercy and he even covered one of Jackie Mittoo's hit songs, Hot Milk.
The one original that was called Monty's Groove got more international airplay, and that shows that there are still people looking for fresh stuff, but you break it to them with other songs that they are familiar with first, he concluded.
Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.