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-- Latin Jazz-Funk --

Winner of the 2001 Montreal Jazz Festival Prix De Jazz Award!

The following musicians define the Shades Of Brown sound.
BROWNMAN ALI - Trumpet, flugelhorn, primary composer
("Browncito" or "Marrón" to the latins 
read the Story Of Brown to see where the name comes from)
         Born "Nick Ali" on the small Caribbean island of Trinidad and based in Toronto, Brownman Ali is one of the most in demand, young jazz studio musicians in the province right now.  He is also one of the first calls for both the latin and the funk/acid-jazz units in the city appearing in the horn sections of countless funk, salsa and merengue bands.  Amongst a long list of mentors, Nick has studied with recording legend Randy Brecker (of The Brecker Brothers) in New York city, Brazilian samba master Claudio Roditi and with British jazz icon Kenny Wheeler while attending the prestigious Banff Center For The Arts 1995 JAZZ WORKSHOP (only 3 trumpet players accepted that year).  Brownman has performed (or recorded) with the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Hugh Fraser, Don Thompson, Kirk Macdonald, Pat Labarbera, Rita Di Ghent & The Sprawl Project, The Philosopher Kings, Grüvoria, Dr. Pop & The Noise, Juke Joint, The Pocket Dwellers, Tabarruk, Energia Latina, Bestial, Cimarron, Macondo, Pacande, Dominicanada & far too many more to list here.  He has, as a sideman, just under 60 studio recordings to his name in styles ranging from Be-bop to Acid-jazz to Funk to Brazilian samba to Cuban salsa as well as performing on a number of major motion picture soundtracks, music videos and live television broadcasts.
MARCUS ALI - Alto Sax, flute
         Also a descendant of Trinidad, Marcus has become one of the most in demand saxophonists in not only the latin community, but the African community as well.  He has toured Canada with African Ensemble Tikisa and performed on a number of Latin and African recordings.  A graduate of the York University Jazz Program, he has studied with Mike Murley, Phil Dwyer, Mark Eisenman, Don Thompson, Bob Mover and John Gittens.  He is a regular member of Latin bands Banda Bella, Anthony V, Juan Miguel & Orchestra Fantasia, African unit Radio Nomad and has appeared in the horn sections of Dominicanada, Casava, Vibrason, Grüvoria, Dr. Pop & The Noise, The Starlight Orchestra and The Big Steam Band.
LUISITO ORBEGOSO - Congas, Shaker, Bells
          Without a doubt the most called upon latin percussionist in Canada.  You will be hard pressed to find a Canadian latin recording on which Luis hasn't played on.  Acting as a 3rd brother keeps the Ali Brothers on their toes with his driving sense of rhythm, his innate sense of clave and those always remarkable ears.  He is always surprising the group with his supreme sense of time and groove.   It's so nice when your closest friends are bad-asses too!

CHENDY LEON - Drumset & Timbales

          One of the finest drummers in the city of Toronto.  A native of Cuba, this young drummer captivated Toronto's attention the minute he arrived and has become one of Brown's most valued musicians and friend.  Now, living in Toronto, he is one of the most in demand timbale and latin drumset players this country has ever seen.  His musicality, knowledge of the latin idiom and powerful sound is one of pleasures of having him playing for Cruzao.

PACO LUVIANO - 6-string Electric Bass
          I've said it about almost everybody in the unit already, and it holds equally true of this man - one of the most in demand latin bassists in Toronto.  But what separates him from all the others is his unwavering need to be more than he is... now playing upright acoustic around town and expanding his jazz harmonic concept is at the root of why Cruzao's unique sound is especially defined by Paco's presence.  A group like this - one without chords - is ultimately dependant of the strength of the bassist... Paco Luviano is a bassist of ultimate strength... a true honor to have him in the group.

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