Maurice Brown occupies many trumpet chairs across the musical spectrum — with everyone from Nas and Chance the Rapper to Anderson.Paak and Tedeschi Trucks Band. And Brown, who also goes by Mobetta, recently took his own artistry to new heights and directions with The Mood, a recording that brilliantly blends his diverse influences.
In our studio session on The Checkout, this trumpeter admits he’s never been so busy, dividing his time between New York and Los Angeles. Not only is he making beautiful music with some of today’s most relevant players, but he's also honing a new skill he picked up along the way, becoming a rapper.
“I was working with a lot of producers and rappers, doing horn arrangements," he says, "and I would demo songs, like ‘It would go like this!’ And they would say, ‘I think that’s your song, you are really doing it!’" Eventually he received specific exhortation from a trusted source. "Talib Kweli would encourage me to rap, and tell me to stop saying that I don’t really rap," Brown recalls. "'You do rap. You rap better than some rappers, so hone in on your skills and take it seriously.'"
Brown followed Kweli’s lead by becoming Mobetta; in our session, he swaps his horn for a mic on "Stand Up," a sanguine power-to-the-people anthem and call for social justice. But don’t let his new direction overshadow his considerable achievement on trumpet. Performing “On My Way Home,” he’s able to elicit a warm tone reminiscent of Roy Hargove, with whom he was very close. “He was a mentor to me," Brown says. "I actually have one of his horns, like his main horn he was using. I got that from him about three weeks before he passed away. It’s heavy, man. It’s only been the last week where I’ve basically been able to function. I didn’t realize it would hit me so hard.”
Later in our session, Maurice Brown plugs his trumpet into some pedals for some electronic effects on “Moroccan Dancehall.” Watch his performance in our WBGO studio with Takahiro Izumikawa (keyboards), Parker McAllister (electric bass), Stacy Dillard (saxophone), Joe Blaxx Grissett (drums), and Ben Eunson (guitar).
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Video: Chris Tobin
Audio Mix: Corey Goldberg