It’s the rare artist from whose catalog a listener can pluck any song and instantly recognize who’s at the helm. Portland-based percussionist, composer and producer Barra Brown’s artistic restlessness has led him from avant-garde beat-based music as one half of Korgy & Bass to original acoustic jazz compositions with his Barra Brown Quintet – but it’s the thematic ambition of Brown’s releases and the fearless merging of electronics and improvisation that let his voice shine through no matter the genre. Within each of his compositions carries a form of experimentation, homage, play, joy, and critique and constantly leans into what’s next.
Barra has toured the continental United States and Alaska with bands including the Shook Twins, Ages and Ages, Alameda, and Morning Ritual performing at notable venues including The Fillmore West and Red Rocks Amphitheater. While at home, he composed and released two albums of original compositions as the Barra Brown Quintet (BBQ) on Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble Records (PJCE). In the Fall of 2017, the PJCE commissioned Barra to write a piece for their twelve-person large ensemble. "Down at Buckskin Lake" premiered at the PJCE Ten Year Anniversary Celebration.
In 2019, following an impressive catalog of releases under his belt, Brown co-composed the album “Remote” -- a sonic journey from industrialization to the modern-day tech industry -- with his project Korgy & Bass in collaboration with NOLA trumpeter Cyrus Nabipoor. In 2020, Barra & Co. released “Agrocrag” -- a bombastic and genre-transcendent album -- that includes a collaboration with Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani. This creative beat-making exploration culminated into a multisensorial performance in the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) Kendall Planetarium.
The diversity of Brown’s musical experience is the driving force of his newest full-length LFT:RT (released March 5th, 2021). The album’s title represents Brown’s attempt to break down the binary thinking so often used to sort complex human life into simplified categories. KMHD Radio premiered the album and stated: “An adventure of an album with Brown’s ear for creative rhythmic structures and immaculate production front-and-center, “LFT:RT” inspires listeners to let go of their expectations and just listen.” -KMHD Jazz Radio. And Jazz Revelations called it “something undoubtedly unique.”
Barra has shared the stage with Ani DiFranco, Gregory Alan Isakov, Robert Glasper, and Makaya McCraven among others. He has worked with Tucker Martine, Michael Curry, OMSI, PNCA, Alan Jones, and the Portland Jazz Composer’s Ensemble.