Album release: ‘Camden Session’ by Butcher Brown
Release date: 12 October 2018
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Band website
Today, Virginia jazz/funk/hip-hop collective Butcher Brown have shared a new video from their recent Tiny Room session for ‘Camden Square’. The single is taken from the bands new album ‘Camden Session’, which was recorded direct-to-disc at Mark Ronson’s London studio and is due for release on 12th October via Gearbox Records. You watch the video here.
Alongside the new album the band have also been announced as a direct support for Kamasi Washington’s ‘Heaven and Earth’ US tour, which will take place over November 2018.
Butcher Brown’s releases to date range from the polished soul/funk of “All Purpose Music” (Ropeadope) (2014) to the 20-track underground groove-laden beats cassette “GrownFolk” in 2015. Both were released to critical acclaim and explains their almost cult status in the music world. The band have come in leaps and bounds in recent times: last year’s “Live at Vagabond” (Gearbox) record showcases the raw energy of their live shows, whilst the band’s most recent Bandcamp release, Afrobeat-themed “Afrokuti: A Tribute to Fela”, provides further testament to the band’s tight synchronicity as well as the truly unbelievable musical capabilities of each band member.
Whilst each individual member maintains their own illustrious side-projects (working with artists such as Christian Scott, Nigel Hall, Mumu Fresh, Black Thought, Phonte, Rapsody, 9th Wonder), Butcher Brown is a hard-working band in an era where most groups are fleeting assemblages, together only long enough to record. The band cultivate a dedicated audience through combining a conventional, label-oriented approach with releasing “underground” tapes, disciplined rehearsal and engaging, adventurous performance. Recent high-profile performances include touring with Galactic last year & performing alongside bands such as Lettuce, Eric Krasno, Soullive, John Schofield, Tauk, & Motet and more - Full bio below.
As a band dedicated to innovation and informed by a love of the past, Butcher Brown’s modernistic fusion is aptly described as “hip hop Mahavishnu.” Impressive as they are individually, together they are something increasingly rare: a real band, playing for their audience and for each other, on the verge of a brilliant future.
‘Camden Session’ is available to pre-order via Gearbox Records here.
Butcher Brown is an up-to-the minute throwback to the great progressive jazz bands of the 60s and 70s. Whilst all members were born after the mid-70s golden age of fusion, their modern, hip-hop-inflected funk has rich echoes of Weather Report, Return to Forever, early Earth Wind and Fire and, perhaps, a pungent whiff of Zappa. Like those bands, Butcher Brown’s unified sound comes from the intertwined talents of the five members, each bringing something unique to the mix.
Multi-instrumentalist Devonne Harris is arguably the visionary of this egalitarian band. His responsive keyboard work shapes the harmonic colors through which the music pulses and flows. Under the name DJ Harrison, he’s created a vast catalog of hip hop beat tapes. He recently released a solo album entitled “Hazy Moods” on Stones Throw Records, the Los Angeles label responsible for releases by Madlib, J Dilla, and many more. Jellowstone Records, his home studio, is a pivotal focus of the vital Richmond music scene, with a growing reputation drawing big name visitors including Nicholas Payton (who recorded his 2014 record “Numbers” there with Butcher Brown). Recently projects include playing keys and synths on Jack White’s latest album “Boarding House Reach,” having selections featured on Phonte’s solo album “No News is Good News,” and taking part in DJ Jazzy Jeff’s 2nd and 3rd annual Playlist Retreat
Bassist Andrew Randazzo is arguably the band’s navigator. “He’s the cool one, the calm one. He’s the mortar, binding together the rhythmic and harmonic side of the music. Both onstage and off, he holds everything together and makes everything go smoothly. And he is an amazing player.” In the band’s funk-inflected music, the foundation is foreground; the bass as much a lead as a rhythm instrument.
Drummer Corey Fonville is pure explosive energy. “He’s always ready for battle,” Harris says. “A huge, controlling factor in our sound.” A percussion prodigy turned international jazz sideman, Fonville’s national performance career when he was just 14, with a 2005 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. In the years since, Fonville’s taken his propulsive energy around the world, playing with Christian Scott at New York’s The Blue Note and performing alongside Chris “Daddy” Dave in China. He’s the beating heart of Butcher Brown, pumping out fresh, danceable rhythmic complexities aimed at both the brain and the hips.
Guitarist Morgan Burrs is the youngest of the group. Coming from a family of musicians, and being surrounded by all types of music since birth, you could say he was destined to lead a life as a musician. In high school, he was awarded 2 full tuition scholarships to study at Berklee College of Music’s 5 Week Summer program 2 years in a row, & having attended VCU, he’s become a force on the Richmond Music scene. He’s recently performed at Budweiser’s Made In America Festival with hip-hop producer legend 9th Wonder and rapper Rapsody.
Marcus Tenney is a multi-instrumentalist from Richmond, Virginia. Working freelance since 2005, Marcus has been playing trumpet and saxophone with bands such as Foxygen, No BS! Brass and Butcher Brown. He has also done studio/session work for Spacebomb Records and records and performs original music with a host of his own ensembles. Marcus has worked with artists such as Braxton Cook, Count Bass D, Matthew E. White, Natalie Prass, Billy Williams and many others.
“As with Kamasi Washington, BADBADNOTGOOD or labelmates Binker & Moses, progressive rappers should be queuing out the door for their blessing.” - Mojo
“It’s fusion, Jim - but not as we know it!” - Record Collector
“Fusing funky backdrops against interweaving textures and daring harmonic dissonance, the Virginia group fuse the dancefloor with the art gallery.” - CLASH
“...although some of the studio albums are more funky and hip hop centred, this [‘Live at Vagabond’] may be a solid introduction to this possible future supergroup.” - UK Vibe