Always an eclectic musician at the core, Barra Brown’s musical exploration started when he studied classical flute performance at Lewis & Clark College where he graduated with honors while studying drums on the side through the prestigious Alan Jones Academy of Music (AJAM).
After graduating from Lewis & Clark College, Barra continued his exploration by touring 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" which premiered at the PJCE Ten Year Anniversary Celebration.
Since 2014, Barra has worked with Cavity Search Records (Elliott Smith, Wayne Horvitz, Helio Sequence) by first releasing an EP with The Wishermen, a collective of young jazz heavyweights dedicated to exploring genre boundaries, styles, and influences. In the Spring of 2017, Brown released his collaborative album “Poem Project” which explored the beauty of interpretation through the unique story where each musician interprets the same song. After writing the song "Poem" (derived from Claude Debussy’s "Girl with the Flaxen Hair"), Brown asked eight different musicians from around the country to write lyrics to and arrange their own version of the song Poem. Brown’s collaborative project spanned several years between Winter 2014 and Spring 2017 and includes members from Radiation City and The Shins (Patti King), Ages and Ages (Colin Jenkins), The Westerlies (Zubin Hensler), and musicians from L.A, New York City, Austin, and Brown’s hometown of Portland, OR.
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” into the world -- a bombastic and genre-transcendent album. This creative beat-making exploration culminated into a multisensorial performance in the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) planetarium show.
Barra’s musical exploration not only continues but it evolves with his new release “These Souls” set to release on May 19, 2020. Written, arranged, and produced by Barra Brown in collaboration with lyrics by Matt Brown and Maya Dagmi, “These Souls” is an ethereal sonic quilt weaving electronic textures harmoniously with colorful percussive compositions.
Barra has shared the stage with Ani DiFranco, Gregory Alan Isakov, Robert Glasper, and Makaya McCraven among others. He has worked with Michael Curry, OMSI, PNCA, Alan Jones, Radiation City, Ages and Ages, Shook Twins, Morning Ritual, Old Wave, and the Portland Jazz Composer’s Ensemble.
Led not by the boundaries of genre, Barra’s musical journey focuses more on the territories that lay outside. Within each of his compositions carries a form of experimentation, homage, play, joy, and critique and constantly leans into what’s next.