Hi my friends … It’s been a while since we last spoke but I have some great stories to share with you in these dark times. Before we proceed . . . To follow me on Facebook and see the live streams of the Corona Concert Series, please click here. The Third Corona Family Concert Series can be found here. If you would like to see the Second Corona Family Concert Series please click here. For the First Corona Family Concerts Series please click here. If you want to have news from my rock band Edwin & the Bedouins, please go here, and for links to my author website please go here. Now the classical news:
WHAT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN: So much is going on that it is hard to put everything in order!!! My wife and I are going to move, I am planning at least one new album based on the Corona Family Concert Series, and I am practicing, putting together set lists, answering fan comments, writing grant proposals and letting everyone know what is coming in the next online concert series about 12 hours each day!!!
Right now I am working on writing new pop and classical compositions, especially focusing on two new pieces for my new grandchildren Jakey and Guy, and that is giving me a great deal of pleasure!!! In the rock world I am working with my engineer Peter Bowering on finishing "Mo'Roccan the Blues," a psychedelic blues album featuring Jerry Mercer, Rob MacDonald, Kelly Watling, Stu Patterson, Snooky Alston, Sharon Blauer, Joel Sacks, Rob Couture, a full horn section and some other great music guests!!!
WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING: 2021 has opened with the promise of a vaccine, but right now it's in the same place 2020 ended, with fear and sorrow everywhere. For me, that means I have to keep on doing what I was doing, raising spirits with music. Oddly enough for a musician, 2020 was the busiest year in my life, although not in the way I expected at all. The Coronavirus meant that I put all my energy into live-streamed evening concerts and added HOURS of new pieces to my set list!!! But even more than that, from March 20th to May 31st I performed 67 concerts in 73 days to tens of thousands of views from around the world. By the end of the Second Series I had done my 100th concert by September 11th!!! At the penultimate concert I even did my first online CD launch, putting my new album "Edwin Orion Brownell Goes Baroque" for our 99th show here. After a short break, while my wife and I moved, the Corona Family Concerts returned with our Third Series in December 2020, and I am so happy to have my Steinway centre stage in our new home!!!
2019 saw my classical repertoire expand, as well as a surprise launch of an album I did not seriously consider before. In the classical world I added a few new Beethoven and Mozart pieces (including the K. 397 Fantasie in Dm and a piano transcription of Syphony No. 40), a number of Chopin Waltzes and Preludes and a good half hour of more "light" classical pieces. In the world of my musical alter-ego "Edwin & the Bedouins", "Before" was launched at a memorial concert for the great Bobby Lee Silcott. This new CD contains highlights from live performances and studio recordings with groups like Straight No Chaser, Angel and the Bad Boys and Black and Blue from my years as a sideman (1993-2000).
2018 was a relatively quiet year for launches, but it was a wonderful year for creation!!! I made three albums ("Before," "Edwin Orion Brownell Goes Baroque," and "Romance"), which, as mentioned before, will be launched over the next two years. For fundraising and benefit concerts it was another story: In 2018 I was able to give the Montreal Native Friendship Centre over $1,500 in 2018 (I gave $1,000 to the same organization in 2017), and as part of Peter Angrove's annual "Bands for Baskets" I also helped raise over $4,000 for the West Island Mission.
My 11th CD “Songs for Canada” was launched at the at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium in the Eleanor London CSL Public Library on April 27, 2017. At the solo piano concert I performed 4 of the 6 new pieces of the “Songs for Canada” piano sonata and presented an audio-visual tour of the Ein Gedi Kibbutz with photos taken by renowned Haaretz photographer Noam Moskowitz while I played the “Ein Gedi Suite.” Videos from the concert can be seen here, and cuts and outtakes from the recording sessions can be seen and heard here.
My last concert at Loyola Chapel in Montréal on Saturday October 22nd 2016 was a resounding success. This concert launched my 10th album “The Inside Track” and featured a sextet version of The Zara Strings. We recorded my 11th album at this concert as well, and I will be launching this in the summer of 2017. A few clips of studio recordings from “The Inside Track” are here, and film of the show will be available here.
In the midsummer of last year I was honoured to perform at a Sheldon Kagan fundraiser for the Cummings Centre at the Rialto Theatre. My solo set went wonderfully and you can see videos from that production here.
My 9th album, “Forever Laughter" was premiered at Place des Arts in Montreal in the spring of 2014. This launch of a live “greatest hits” CD, featured a quintet version of The Zara Strings (Flaviu and Loredana Zanca with special guests), and songs from the warm-up to this concert were recorded for my latest release. Video excerpts from the show can be seen here.
The previous year, my 6th album “SMILE” was released in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre on Friday December 6th. The first set introduced a new piece from my “Canada Suite,” followed by selections from the CD. The second set featured stellar performances by Flaviu and Loredana Zanca of The Zara Strings, and the music included reworked versions of the “Tangier Suite” and “The Hummingbird Waltz” from my 2005 release “Music of the Dance” as well as a newly arranged version of “Gypsy Dance” from “SMILE.” We closed the show with a selection of Christmas carols, sung beautifully by my backup singers Sharon Blauer and Levy Lumabao. The concert was a resounding success, and the highlight was getting to play for my late beloved girlfriend Olive (101 year old at the time)!!! A clip from a TV spot advertising the concert can be seen here.
WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR: Now that albums 13 and 14 are in the can, I am still looking for a classical orchestra to work on the Ein Gedi Suite for my 16th album. Any takers (1)?
WHAT I AM WORKING ON: I have now finished writing my first book “Operation Hannibal.” This history treatise is based around my mother’s experience in the German evacuation of Prussia in 1945, and will be the first English examination of this campaign; the largest sea-evacuation in history. Again, the Website is here, and remember I am looking for a publisher … Any takers (2)?
THANKS TO: The two people keeping me going through all of this are my wife Nechama and my mom MeeMee! You are the very best of everyone, and I love you both so much for being there for me. My step-daughters Shiri and Michal are constant inspirations, as are their husbands Ian and Noam and my SUPER-DUPER grandchildren AidenWaiden, Ofiroonie, Amitski and our two newest arrivals JakeyWakey and Guy!!!! My pal Bob Malvasio has been responsible for my webpages and while I am now going to take on that task myself, I have to thank him from my heart for his diligence and amazing work over the last two decades. He will still be responsible for the graphics on all my upcoming albums, and I am so grateful for his professionalism and his friendship!!! Peter Bowering has done most of the recording and mixing of the upcoming releases, and my friend Ryan Moray is again back in the mastering chair: I am so proud of everything these artists have done with my music! Thanks are also due to my good buddies Flaviu and Loredana Zanca (the core of The Zara Strings) and Jillian Deevy and Gali Nelson (who have taken care of the merchandising at all my concerts). I have the BEST team!
SO FINALLY: When the Coronavirus Pandemic dies down I hope to see you at some of the concerts at Retirement Homes I play at in Montreal and Ottawa. My rock group Edwin & the Bedouins will also play this year at a more official launch of "Before," and the Zara Strings will perform at the upcoming launch of "Edwin Orion Brownell Goes Baroque." Enjoy your visit at the online store, enjoy my music, enjoy the coming holiday season and ENJOY life!!!