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"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > The 5 Browns

MUSIC REVIEWS

 

The 5 Browns-The 5 Browns (RCA Red Seal)

It was inevitable that it would happen eventually.  That even classical music, that well-known bastion of serious artistic intent, would court younger listeners with a cute family group of sisters and brothers aged 19 to 25.

While the classical world has always looked at new ideas for popular crossover with skepticism (remember the flack over Vanessa-Mae's sexy album covers about ten years ago?), in the long run talent will out.  So even if Melody or Desirae or Gregory or Deondra or Ryan become pin-ups of the classical teen set, you can't deny that these siblings can play.

In fact, they are the first five members of the same family ever to be accepted simultaneously in New York's prestigious and notoriously picky Juilliard School.  All five are virtuoso piano players, but all have slightly different styles and strengths which flatter their bandmates. 

The idea of five dueling pianos all going at once could sound like anarchy, but due to years of work together the Browns know how to compliment each other without overwhelming the music.  A short run-through of "Flight of the Bumblebee" and an atmospheric medley of songs from West Side Story show prodigious skill.

Just as impressive are the songs when the Browns are allowed to go more minimalistically, in duet or solo performances.  Gregory Brown does a gorgeous version of Rachmaninoff's "Elegie from Morceaux de fantasie, Op. 3" and sister Melody is expert on "L'Isle Joyeux" by DeBussy.

So don't underestimate the 5 Browns just because they are young and photogenic.  Also, if those qualities can open more eyes to quality classical and theatrical music, is that really so bad?  (2/05)

Jay S. Jacobs

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Copyright 2005 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.  Posted: February 8, 2005.