The 5 Browns are a group of exceptionally talented brothers and sisters who all play the piano. The family made history when they all attended the Julliard School at the same time, and since then have found considerable success as a group. While generally listed in the "Classical Crossover" section, the 5 Browns deserve credit for not sticking to the popular end of the spectrum but including unusual and sometimes difficult works in their repertoire. "Browns in Blue" is their 3rd album and earns its title of "Blue" from the inclusion of a number of Jazz tracks amid the classical music which has been the main focus of previous albums. All members of the group are excellent pianists and each has the opportunity to play solo tracks on the album. There are also a number of duets and trios, while certain tracks get the full force of the 5 Browns playing on 5 pianos. "Browns in Blue" also has some guest slots for Gil Shaham on violin, Chris Botti on trumpet, and even the instantly recogniseable voice of Dean Martin on the final Bonus Track.
The album gets off to a fine start with a 5 piano version, both delicate and powerful, of the famous 18th variation from Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini". Another 5 piano track is the modernist Reflections on "Shenandoah" written by the virtuoso pianist John Novacek. Desirae & Deondra accompany Gil Shaham on violin for "Aquarium" from Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals, and their sister Melody later plays a solo version of "The Swan" from the same popular children's suite. Interspersed among some popular and less well-known classical tracks, the Jazz elements feature Argentinian composer Piazzolla's "Retrato de Alfredo Gobbi" from History of the Tango, Aunt Hagar's Blues and Gershwin's song "Embraceable You". All 5 Browns come together for a rather special Fantasia on the Vaughan Williams folksong "Dives and Lazarus". To close the album the family are joined by Chris Botti on trumpet to play "Home Blues" from Gershwin's An American in Paris, and the bonus track has the family accompany Dean Martin's voice for "Everybody Loves Somebody".
While there's no doubting that The 5 Browns have the highest Classical credentials, "Bowns in Blue" shows that they are equally at home in the Jazz world. This album and others featuring the 5 Browns are available as follows: