Jaimeo Brown: Transcendence
Jaimeo Brown (pronounced jah-mayo) began his drum career at age 16 with his father bassist Dartanyan Brown and mother pianist and woodwind specialist, Marcia Miget, and drum teacher, Sly Randolph, himself a Bernard Purdie protégé from Harlem. In the last 20 years, he has worked with a range of musicians including Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Q-Tip, Carl Craig, Bobby Hutcherson, Greg Osby, Joe Locke, David Murray, and several other New York based musicians. He gained extensive experience performing and educating various audiences around the world as an ambassador for the US State Department. In addition to onstage work, Jaimeo contributed program material for the Oscar and Grammy award winning documentary 'Twenty Feet From Stardom' and the PBS original production of Ralph Ellison's 'King of the Bingo Game.' As the Director of Transcending Arts Jaimeo is a passionate educator. He has given countless hours in community service in urban NJ and NY giving lessons to kids through programs such as NJPAC, New City Kids.
Sometimes, when you find a voice, your life is no longer your own. It belongs to those you speak to, speak for and speak of.
Jaimeo Brown has found his voice in struggle and hope. Sung with fire, healed with love, his words are the songs of the unknown labourer; the jailhouse; the coal miner, gandy dancer, and stonemason - yesterday, and tomorrow. His notes are the echoes of protest and his rhythms are the universal beat of freedom and solidarity; at once ancient and modern.
Jaimeo's view of the world is one of togetherness. His life, like his work, is a patchwork of people, cultures and examples of the great human potential for acceptance and integration.
As a child he spent early of his life living on a Native American reservation in Arlee, Montana: a community in which the Native American voice was very present; very much a part of the social dialogue. When you experience this kind of natural sensitivity, he explains, it sheds light on the rest of the society. “Where, he asks, is the Native American voice when we speak of immigration”? Life has made Jaimeo see things differently...
hope is in abundance
Examples of light and liberation permeate Jaimeo's growing up. Amidst the aimless youth and gang culture of the Bay Area, he discovered multiculturalism within a West Coast hiphop culture shared and celebrated by a broad group of minorities. Inspired equally by the beats and samples of J Dilla, Dr. Dre and DJ Premier, and the raw eloquence of Coltrane, Miles Davis and Art Blakey, he found shelter in practice: playing music was to be the epicentre of his spiritual awakening.
off the map, musically and spiritually
When recordings of Gees Bend quilters, an isolated African American community on the Alabama river found their way into Jaimeo's life, they instantly became some of the most important music in his life; more 'spiritual nourishment' than art. The songs of this small group of quilters became the substance of Jaimeo's meditation, medication and inspiration.
A decade later, after 14 turbulent years of New York life, Jaimeo's own search for creative and spirtual healing lead him to experiment with weaving samples of the Gees Bend into his own music. In doing so, he discovered a sound that “immediately gave me a life's worth of work” - and that was to become the source of his definitive project, Transcendence.
Jaimeo reached out to producer, guitarist & longtime friend Chris Sholar to achieve what he heard in his soul. With the mantra 'not to think of it as a regular gig', and an MPC salvaged from the garbage, they began to program. Together they discovered a tapestry where a digital future meets a hand-stitched past; the logic of a language waiting to be spoken.
if you want to know what is important to a people,
listen to their music....
The samples of Gees Bend are a microcosm of the story of Transcendence: music reflecting a greater social and historical picture, and galvanising the bonds between those who share in the struggle, and the art. Albums of love and fire, Transcendence brings focus to the ways in which the contemporary moment reflects - and indeed is a continuation of – a historical struggle.
Jaimeo Brown is an educator, activist and artist whose work is a call to transcend: transcend traditional limits of creativity; transcend oppression; transcend from one to all - via artistic, technological and historical exploration, and the essential humanity that unites us.
CONTRIBUTORS / COLLABORATORS:
Stevie Wonder || Carlos Santana || Q-Tip || Carl Craig || Kenny Garrett || Geri Allen || Greg Osby || Joe Locke || Pharoah Sanders || Bobby Hutcherson ||