How We React and How We Recover Jason Robert Brown
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- 4Fifty Years Long04:15
- 5Hallowed Ground05:30
- 6One More Thing Than I Can Handle (feat. Kate McGarry)05:59
- 7All Things in Time04:37
- 8A Song About Your Gun03:07
- 9Everybody Knows05:04
- 10The Hardest Hill06:15
- 11Caravan of Angels06:11
- 12Wait 'Til You See What's Next03:48
Info for How We React and How We Recover
How We React and How We Recover, the new album from three time Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown. His first solo recording in over a decade is a politically-charged, far-reaching rumination on love, family and music.
How We React and How We Recover – partly a response to our fraught political climate, part portrait of an evolving contemporary artist– is Brown's definitive interpretation of his own compositions, pregnant with emotion, capacious musical energy and symphonic sweep. "I grew up on Billy Joel and Joni Mitchell, but also Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein," reflects Brown. "All those influences sit within the work. This album has a specific emotional palette and musical aesthetic that rests between rock 'n' roll, jazz, folk, gospel and Broadway."
The opening song, "Hope," written the morning after the fateful 2016 U.S. Presidential election, was meant to set the tone for the record. "It's about having hope when you have no reason to be hopeful, trying to capture the positive energy of life in bad times. I still have a tough time performing it, it's a very direct expression of a very difficult emotional moment." Ultimately the album is about, as the song "Hope" itself says, being a force of good "in spite of everything ridiculous and sad."
"The Sandy Hook school shooting just broke me," Brown continues. "My daughter was the same age as those kids and it mobilized me to do something, anything I could about the scourge of guns in this country. Ultimately, I wrote 'A Song About Your Gun.' I had to express my anger, not just for the killing of the innocent people, but the fetishization of this weapon. This object has been placed on a pedestal to become a symbol of who we are supposed to be as a country. I started writing this song to deal with that rage and now it's become my primary social issue."
"All Things in Time" – the song which provides the album its title – closes many of Brown's concerts. With a quiet and clear-eyed optimism, the song says, "we can't predict what comes to pass, all we control is how we react and how we recover." "That line really encapsulates both the album and what it's like to live in this crazy time," Brown explains. "Let's just hang in there together. It doesn't matter if I really believe it, what matters is that I must believe it."
Other album highlights include "Fifty Years Long," Jason's lyrical song originally written for a long-married couple he didn't know, but which ended up exploring not only his own marriage, but that of his parents and the very nature of relationships, and how they are affected by community, luck and hard work. "Melinda," infused with the chaos and energy of big band Latin rhythm, is about a rising salsa musician set in the melting pot of 1970s New York City.
"Hallowed Ground" – an infectiously percussive chamber pop song – was inspired by his daughter's visit to the same performing arts camp Brown attended in his formative years, and the emotions from witnessing her budding musical talent. "Being a father is the thing I had to do to keep being a writer," he reflects. "There were things I didn't know how to feel, emotions I never knew existed, or how to express them. I've already said all there was to say about myself. It's very different when you are responsible for other people and every facet of their lives."
The Grammy Award-nominated vocalist Kate McGarry lends her voice to the bittersweet bossa nova-inspired "One More Thing Than I Can Handle." Brown recalled, "I was dazzled by her technical facility and unbelievable musicality, but she really connects with the lyrics too. I am honored that she's part of the album. She's a special artist."
"Wait 'Till You See What's Next" – the album's ebullient closing track – was originally written as the finale of the Broadway musical Prince of Broadway, which honors Brown's mentor, the lauded director Hal Prince. Brown provided arrangements, orchestrations, music supervision, and co-produced the cast album for Ghostlight Records. "As an optimist, Hal genuinely believes good things are going to happen," says Brown. "His entire life and career are based on not the assumption, but the literal knowledge, that it's all going to work out exactly the way you want it to. He's always moving forward with positivity and belief in the future. This song was written to be in Hal's voice, but by singing it on the album, I started to find that quality in myself. The world is rough right now, but wait until you see what's next. Let's celebrate what's coming up."
How We React and How We Recover is produced by Jason Robert Brown and Jeffery Lesser. Stacey Mindich and Kurt Deutsch serve as executive producers.
Jason Robert Brown
is the ultimate multi-hyphenate – an equally skilled composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director and performer – best known for his dazzling scores to several of the most renowned musicals of his generation, including the generation-defining “The Last Five Years”, his debut song cycle “Songs for a New World”, and the seminal “Parade”, for which he won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score.
Jason Robert Brown has been hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his “extraordinary, jubilant theater music” (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own incendiary live performances. The New York Times refers to Jason as “a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.” Jason’s score for “The Bridges of Madison County,” a musical adapted with Marsha Norman from the bestselling novel, directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale, received two Tony Awards (for Best Score and Orchestrations). “Honeymoon In Vegas,” based on Andrew Bergman’s film, opened on Broadway in 2015 following a triumphant production at Paper Mill Playhouse. A film version of his epochal Off-Broadway musical “The Last Five Years” was released in 2015, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan and directed by Richard LaGravenese. His major musicals as composer and lyricist include: “13”, written with Robert Horn and Dan Elish, which began its life in Los Angeles in 2007 and opened on Broadway in 2008 (and was subsequently directed by the composer for its West End premiere in 2012); “The Last Five Years”, which was cited as one of Time Magazine’s 10 Best of 2001 and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics (and was subsequently directed by the composer in its record-breaking Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theatre in 2013); “Parade,” written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theatre in 1998, and subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best New Musical, as well as garnering Jason the Tony Award for Original Score; and “Songs for a New World,” a theatrical song cycle directed by Daisy Prince, which played Off-Broadway in 1995, and has since been seen in hundreds of productions around the world. “Parade” was also the subject of a major revival directed by Rob Ashford, first at London’s Donmar Warehouse and then at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. His orchestral adaptation of E.B. White’s novel “The Trumpet of the Swan” premiered at the Kennedy Center with John Lithgow and the National Symphony Orchestra, and the CD was released on PS Classics. Future projects include a new chamber musical created with Daisy Prince and Jonathan Marc Sherman called “The Connector”, an untitled new piece created with Kenneth Lin and Moisés Kaufman, and a new musical with Billy Crystal. Jason is the winner of the 2002 Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyrics and the 1996 Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Award for Musical Theatre. Jason’s songs, including the cabaret standard “Stars and the Moon,” have been performed and recorded by Audra McDonald, Billy Porter, Betty Buckley, Karen Akers, Renée Fleming, Philip Quast, Jon Hendricks and many others, and his song “Someone To Fall Back On” was featured in the Walden Media film, “Bandslam.”
As a soloist or with his band The Caucasian Rhythm Kings, Jason has performed sold-out concerts around the world. His newest collection, “How We React and How We Recover”, will be released this spring on Sh-K-Boom Records. His previous solo album, “Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes”, was named one of Amazon.com’s best of 2005, and is available from Sh-K-Boom Records. A concert film featuring Anika Noni Rose was broadcast on PBS. His collaboration with singer Lauren Kennedy, “Songs of Jason Robert Brown”, is available on PS Classics. Jason’s piano sonata, “Mr. Broadway” was commissioned and premiered by Anthony De Mare at Carnegie Hall. Jason is also the composer of the incidental music for David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Kimberly Akimbo” and ”Fuddy Meers,” Marsha Norman’s “Last Dance,” David Marshall Grant’s “Current Events,” Kenneth Lonergan’s “The Waverly Gallery,” and the Irish Repertory Theater’s production of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” and he was a Tony Award nominee for his contributions to the score of “Urban Cowboy the Musical.” He has also contributed music to the hit Nickelodeon television series, “The Wonder Pets” as well as “Sesame Street.” Jason spent ten years teaching at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, and has also taught at Harvard University and Emerson College. He will be teaching at Princeton University starting in the fall of 2018.
For the new musical “Prince of Broadway,” a celebration of the career of Harold Prince, Jason was the musical supervisor and arranger. Other recent New York credits as conductor and arranger include “Urban Cowboy the Musical” on Broadway; Oliver Goldstick’s play, “Dinah Was,” directed by David Petrarca, at the Gramercy Theatre and on national tour; and William Finn’s “A New Brain,” directed by Graciela Daniele, at Lincoln Center Theater. Jason was the musical director of the pop vocal group, The Tonics, with whom he performed at the 1992 tribute to Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall (recorded by RCA Victor); he was the conductor and orchestrator of Yoko Ono’s musical, “New York Rock,” at the WPA Theatre (on Capitol Records); and he orchestrated Andrew Lippa’s “john and jen,” Off-Broadway at Lamb’s Theatre (Varese Sarabande). In 1994, Jason was the conductor and arranger of Michael John LaChiusa’s “The Petrified Prince,” directed by Harold Prince, at the Public Theatre. Additionally, Jason served as the orchestrator and arranger of Charles Strouse and Lee Adams’s score for a proposed musical of “Star Wars.” Jason also took over as musical director for the Off-Broadway hit “When Pigs Fly.” Jason has conducted and created arrangements and orchestrations for Liza Minnelli, John Pizzarelli, Tovah Feldshuh, and Laurie Beechman, among many others.
Jason studied composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., with Samuel Adler, Christopher Rouse, and Joseph Schwantner. He lives with his wife, composer Georgia Stitt, and their daughters in New York City. Jason is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 & 47.
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