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Vicki Brown

If you've spent any time exploring downtown music during the last couple of years, you have probably seen Vicki Brown, playing violin with Amy Rude, Campo Bravo, Naim Amor and, well, lots of other folks. Her constant nocturnal musical collaborations give Tucson a steady look at her considerable talent, but little indication of what she would do on her own. Well, wonder no more. Her first solo CD on Tucson's boutique label Keep Recordings, Winter Garden, delivers eight tracks of lovely, cinematic instrumental mood music.

Although there's an underlying stylistic cohesion to Winter Garden, Vicki covers a lot of musical and atmospheric territory. Personally, I hear movie music. The opening lullaby swoon of "Take Flight" gives way to "Swallowtail Schooner" which sounds like a 2001: A Space Odyssey version of a sloooowed-down extraterrestrial hoedown. The sprightly dance of "Ides of March" leads into the loops-infused drone of "Horological Nightmare," which evokes the unsettling background menace in Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. Clearly, Vicki can play it both heavy and light: Balancing the delicate with the intense, she paints evocative sonic pictures perfect for contemplating, mind-tripping or just spacing out.

I'm no authority on the violin, but she sounds pretty great to me, deft and inventive, full of passion and ideas. By the time we get to the deep/inner space of "Core Oscillation," with its looping tabla drums and ambient background humming, she's taken us on a short journey and left us back at our doorstep: downtown Tucson.

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