Keith Brown, a 2011 School of Music graduate, released his first jazz album, Sweet and Lovely, with the French label Spacetime Records in April.
Brown, who was a studio music and jazz major with a concentration in piano, describes his experience in Paris recording with Spacetime Records as simply “amazing.”
“It was a little intimidating at first working with such great and accomplished musicians,” Brown says. “The musicians were really easygoing, which took some of the stress off of me, and it was cool to hang out and talk with the guys about music.”
Brown, who plays the piano and bass, enjoyed playing and hearing music in Paris, noticing that the audiences were enthusiastic and had a great energy that helped fuel the musicians.
“There are places like that in the States, and I just love listening to music where you can feel that connection between the musicians and the audience,” Brown says. “There’s a lot of variety of music going on in Knoxville, from rock and jazz to R&B and bluegrass.”
Brown pays tribute to his father, UT music instructor Donald Brown, and mother, a member of her high school and college bands, for exposing him and his siblings to music at an early age and laying his foundation for “a love of music.” Brown also credits all of his “very influential” UT professors, most notably Vance Thompson and Greg Tardy.
“Me and Vance get together all the time and just play and talk about music and openly talk to each other about our strengths and weaknesses and musicians, and it’s very helpful,” Brown says. “Greg just has an intensity when he is playing that has really influenced the way I approach playing.”
Brown worked as a graduate teaching assistant while he was in school and said he may go into teaching, but for now he’s focused on performing and composing.