“When you listen to Derek Brown play the sax, you figure this guy has got to be using all kinds of loops and overdubs and electronic pyrotechnics. And then when you figure out it’s just him playing live, it is a little bit hard to fathom.”
– NPR’s Weekend Edition
Watch Derek Brown perform the title track to his latest release “FiftyFifty” – Solo Sax & Voice:
Saxophone innovator Derek Brown lives and performs in Chicago, and is most known for his unique solo performances throughout the world. Crossing genres from jazz to funk to classical, Derek’s unique playing style, using creative new “beatbox-like” techniques, is wowing audiences in festivals and venues across the globe. Brown is currently involved with the up-and-coming Chicago funk/fusion supergroup Low Spark, as well as his signature solo show, “BEATBoX SAX.”
With a fairly straightforward musical upbringing in small-town Michigan, Derek really started to show some creative musical juice in the summers between years at Hope College. As one third of the jazz/bluegrass hybrid band, Afterthought, Derek began to write original tunes and experiment with the saxophone. By the time he left grad school at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music he was well on his way to creating his own unique approach to playing.
For the next six years, Derek was the Director of Jazz Studies at Abilene Christian University, in Abilene, Texas. In between teaching classes and lessons, directing the various jazz ensembles, starting up the annual Abilene Jazz Fest, and lots of grading, Derek challenged himself to see how full a sound he could get out of one horn, with no electronic help. Using some established techniques like slap-tonguing and double-tonguing, as well as some not-so-established techniques like various new percussive sounds and striking the sax with rings, Derek found something truly fresh!
Now living in Chicago with his wife Rachel, Derek has hit the ground running as a full-time freelance saxophonist, a dream he’s had since he picked up the horn in middle school. His Youtube following has grown fast, as he releases new BEATBoX SAX music videos and tutorials regularly. This online success has led to his endorsements with Legere Reeds, JodyJazz Mouthpieces, P. Mauriat Saxophones, BG Ligatures, and AKG Microphones, as well as performance and clinic opportunities around the world, including France, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Bulgaria, the UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Serbia, China, Malaysia, and Brazil.
Derek’s latest project is an epic undertaking: his FiftyFifty Tour has him performing at least one gig in each of the 50 states in nine months (Aug. ’18 – May ’19). Traveling from state to tate in an RV with his wife Rachel, they have been regularly vlogging and posting about music and life on the road. Learn more on derekbrownsax.com.