Founded in 2009, Richmond, Virginia’s Butcher Brown are a proud throwback to the great progressive jazz-funk bands of the 1970s with a 21st century twist that makes room for hip-hop, garage punk, and future funk. They released All Purpose Music in 2014, and followed a year later with the internationally acclaimed Grown Folk. That summer, they cut The Healer at their own studio and released it via Bandcamp in 2017, alongside the Gearbox album Live At Vagabond. The following year the Camden Session EP also appeared from Gearbox. In 2019 the EP AfroKuti: A Tribute To Fela was released by WarHen. Concord Jazz signed them for 2020′s #KingButch. 2022′s Butcher Brown Presents Triple Trey featuring Tennishu and R4ND4ZZO BIGB4ND also appeared on the label. It was written by the band’s MC as a hip hop record, but evolved during the recording process to become an eclectic ode to big band jazz.
DJ Harrison (keys, producer, and engineer), Andrew Randazzo (bass), and Corey Fonville (drums) formed Butcher Brown in 2012, and gradually became a quartet with the addition of Marcus Tenney (reeds, brass, MC) and Morgan Burrs (guitar). The establishing trio centered around activity at Harrison’s analog Jellowstone Studios in Richmond. They began woodshedding and composing collectively, and their energetic jazz-funk/hip-hop jams made them the life of every party they played. Their debut long-player, All Purpose Music, was issued by Jellowstone via Ropeadope in 2014, followed by the self-released beat tape GrownFolk the following year.
Butcher Brown toured regionally, then nationally, as their reputation as an exciting live band spread among the independent music press and social media. The full-length self-released Virginia Noir followed in 2016, its critical notice — underscored by more touring — preceded the January 2017 Afrokuti: A Tribute to Fela EP, and The Healer in March. Thanks to hype generated by the internet and their active SoundCloud and Bandcamp pages, they got the attention of the Gearbox label, which released Live at Vagabond the same year, and played touring slots with Galactic and Kamasi Washington. In 2018, Gearbox released Butcher Brown’s Camden Session, cut direct-to-disc at Mark Ronson’s London studio. The band signed with the Universal-distributed Concord Jazz label, and in 2020 issued #KingButch. Tenney took the mike and shared it on one track with guest rapper Fly Anakin, while the instrumentals included updates of material written by and/or associated with Mtume and Ronnie Laws.
While working in his home studio during the pandemic, Tennishu (Marcus Tenney), the band’s emcee — who also contributes on saxophone and trumpet — began making beats for several Richmond area artists including Butcher Brown. His thought at the time was to craft them as a rhythmic base for a group hip hop album. During the recording process, Butcher Brown’s members began growing out these tracks by layering instrumentation, adding sophisticated arrangments and deep production. The end result was MC Butcher Brown Presents Triple Trey featuring Tennishu and R4ND4ZZO BIGB4ND, the group’s electro-futurist take on jazz big bands. ~ Thom Jurek & Andy Kellman