Two Bari Band
The Two Bari Band was started by Melanie Howell-Brooks and Kathy Olson as a collaboration that would provide a way for them to compose and arrange new music for jazz quintet. As they are both baritone saxophone players, they thought it would be a fun challenge to not only write new music, but then have the other person arrange those new tunes for two baritone saxes and rhythm section. Since COVID was preventing them from being able to perform, it was also a way to keep them motivated musically and looking forward to a time where they could finally hear the music in person.
Photo credits: Ray Drueke (Melanie)
and https://www.kristopher-johnson.com (Kathy)
Bio Melanie Howell-Brooks:
Born in Hartland, Wisconsin, Melanie Howell-Brooks lives in the Boston area and performs throughout New England and beyond. She received her Bachelors of Music in Music Performance and Music Education from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI and her Masters in Jazz Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. She enjoys playing in a variety of genres – jazz, classical, rock, and pit orchestra work being the most active. While she mostly is seen playing the baritone saxophone and bass clarinet, she also frequently plays other flutes, clarinets, and saxes.
Melanie is an active musician in the Boston area and is a member of the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra, as well as smaller permutations of that group – Oddsong and the Jazz Composers Alliance Saxophone Quartet. She also performs with Mehmet Ali Sanlikol’s large jazz ensemble, Whatsnext?, The New England Jazz Collaborative, The Two Bari Band, formed alongside Kathy Olson, and her own group called The Phoenix Fire Collective. She also performs with Soul City, one of Boston’s premier wedding bands as well as the TubaFrau Hoffbrau Band, playing clarinet for their German Polka band repertoire. Other performance groups include appearances with the BT/ALC Big Band, as well as the Fernando Huergo Big Band. Melanie has also played with the Grammy-winning bands 8-Bit Big Band and The Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra.
Other more recent notable performances include recording with Bruno Raburg on bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet (2023) for his 10-tet and with David Liebman under the direction of Ken Schaphorst with Mr. Sanlikol’s band, Whatsnext? (2019) Over the years she has also performed in groups featuring Tiger Okoshi, Jerry Bergonzi, Marshall Gilkes, Lewis Porter, Oliver Lake, Charlie Rosen, Steven Feifke, and Bijon Watson. She has also played in the backing bands for Aretha Franklin, The Temptations/Four Tops, as well as with Johnny Mathis, performed with Symphony New Hampshire, toured Turkey and Cyprus appearing at the Istanbul Jazz Festival in 2017 with Whatsnext?, and performs in pit orchestras throughout the region including the North Shore Music Theatre.
Bio Kathy Olson: check out About page
A Walk in the Snow – Melanie Howell-Brooks
arr. Kathy Olson
Groundhog Dreams – Kathy Olson
arr. Melanie Howell-Brooks