Brian Hudson takes his music career “Next Level” on debut jazz release

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Drummer Brian Hudson is a veteran performer of almost all popular genres. His debut jazz release, “Next Level,” shows Hudson’s ability to make groove-infused contemporary tracks.

Introducing Brian Hudson

Brian Hudson is an Atlanta-based musician who is based out of Clearwater, Florida. Hudson has performed non-stop for almost two decades. He has performed in a variety of musical ensembles from rock to jazz, to contemporary Christian to pop and blues. Hudson also stays active in the professional music community by being on the Georgia Music advisory board, and is a voting member of The Recording Academy.

Hudson’s earliest forays into drumming began like other children’s–by banging on pots and pans. That stereotypical beginning would not indicate the professionalism and heart that Hudson imbues his work with years later.

Having spent his formative years in Florida, Hudson fell in love with jazz and jazz fusion. Groups such as Chick Corea’s Akoustic Band and Spyro Gyra, showed a young Hudson what could be broached performance-wise in terms of jazz. Even with his other projects in other genres, Hudson never forgot his love of jazz and decided early on that he would one day record a jazz album.

“Next Level” soundscape

When a new jazz performer comes along, the instinctive thing to do is compare the performer to those who have gone before. Whether it is helpful or not remains to be seen, but it is a natural inclination. That said, listening to Hudson’s work calls to mind Brian Culbertson. Both performers take a groove-inspired approach to jazz that is full of urban energy.

“NYC” by Brian Hudson

The song sits on the boundaries of mid-tempo and fast. There are interludes of a few slow measures before the normal pace resumes. This changing dynamic gives the song texture and does not distract. The song itself finds Hudson’s drums played with a rock/funk muscularity that drives the whole song. There is a rock/pop to the song overall, as a bright piano is showcased. It is replaced by a guitar. The horns, bass, guitar, keyboard and piano all mesh well, while also displaying their particular strengths.

Brian Hudson: “Playing with Gravity”

The temptation is to write about all of the songs on this well-crafted debut. “Playing with Gravity” wins in terms of originality. The rock-infused jazz track features a clear, chunky guitar that soars and rocks while a timpani of drums rests easy just beneath it. The ensemble is simple: drums, keyboards, upright bass and guitar. The instrumentation provides an up and down feel that is appropriate for a song with “gravity” in its title. This song, though, feels light. Not as in easy listening, but as in free, or freeing. Maybe that quality comes from the confidence of the musicians. In addition to Hudson, his ensemble members have played with some of the most recognizable names in the music industry. Their combined artistry here creates a soothing, yet invigorated atmosphere that makes “Playing with Gravity” the standout of the album.

Hudson is not new to music, so this album is a technical one at best. Hudson has managed to achieve some of the nuances crafted by the likes of Chick Corea that he came to appreciate years ago. “Next Level” symbolizes Hudson’s dream come true. The release is a must-listen for new and veteran jazz fans.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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