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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Now let's add to our Census of new music from 2010. As we near the end of this year, we're catching up with some music we missed, and that includes a release from the trumpeter Maurice Brown. It's called "The Cycle of Love."

(Soundbite of music, "The Cycle of Love")

INSKEEP: It's rarely easy for a musician to put into words what his music is supposed to mean, but Maurice Brown tries. His liner notes suggest that each song represent a different moment in life.

Mr. MAURICE BROWN (Jazz Musician): What a cycle of love for me is - it's my interpretation of the different stages that we go through on our quest for true happiness, you know.

INSKEEP: First, he says, we embrace a big change. Then life goes well. Then we face a choice - between light and dark, he says. Later, we find out we never really had a choice at all. It sounds a little like the musician's own life.

Mr. BROWN: I was actually living the cycle of love.

INSKEEP: ...starting with his choice of a musical instrument as a teenager.

Mr. BROWN: When I was in school I remember the director told me to pick an instrument. And I went straight to the trumpet and I made a sound right away. And he said, you're a natural, that's what you're playing. And I kind of stuck with it ever since.

INSKEEP: He played trumpet with his uncle's blues group on stage in Chicago. And then jazz music drew him south - to the Gulf Coast.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BROWN: It was like a dream really in New Orleans. You know, I was there doing my thing. I had a steady gig every Tuesday at Snug Harbor, one of the biggest clubs in the city.

INSKEEP: He was a star - until Hurricane Katrina approached in 2005.

Mr. BROWN: I grabbed a couple outfits. I grabbed my horn, and that was about it. I had to leave everything else behind. By the time I got back there, there was like people breaking into my home. There was mildew everywhere. And I was just like, you know, this is a sign that it is time to move on.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Maurice Brown's next stop was New York City, where he became an arranger and producer for urban acts like Wyclef Jean and De La Soul. He immersed himself in hip-hop - and then brought what he learned back to jazz.

Mr. BROWN: The baseline, da-da-da, doh, doh, da-da, that's hip hop. So that's what's making you really want to move when you hear that.

(Soundbite of song, "Time Tick Tock")

INSKEEP: This song is called "Time Tick Tock" - and in those liner notes, Maurice Brown describes it as music by which you weigh your options and consider your next steps in life.

Maurice Brown's release "The Cycle of Love" contains some of the music we missed in 2010. And we'll have more of that music before the end of this year.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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