Maurice Brown, “The Mood” (Ropeadope)

Maurice “Mobetta” Brown boasts a signature sound that stems from the soulfulness of his trumpet playing and, in many cases, his memorable melodies. Brown, a Chicago native who spent some significantly formative years in New Orleans, also provides what could be called Maurice-isms, little nuances that make the trumpeter quickly recognizable. Two tunes, “On My Way Home” and “Serendipity”—both very danceable numbers—are good examples of Brown’s distinctive melodic phrasing. They both happen to team him with his old blowin’ partner, New Orleans saxophonist Derek Douget. These guys complement each other while engaging in a conversation of musical understanding and direction.

Chelsea Baratz takes over sax duties on the internationally flavored “Moroccan Dancehall,” which is rhythmically driven by drummer Joe Blaxx and percussionist Weedie Braimah. Brown’s aggressive horn suggests a rallying call with Baratz responding to the command by really taking off.

The tune “Shenanigans” is right up Brown’s alley with its stick-in-the-brain repetitive refrain. The big, two-handed chords of pianist Kris Bowers lay down a solid foundation for both Baratz and Brown’s high-flying extensions. Hip-hop master Talib Kweli appropriately makes a guest appearance on the politically charged “Stand Up.” In the liners, Brown remembers his father wisely telling him, “Stand up for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

The Mood continues Maurice Brown’s reputation as a musician who expertly combines the seriousness of jazz music and the fundamental elements of joy.