NEW/NATIVE | Musician Theron Brown & Square Records owner David Ignizio

in which writer Christopher Morrison chats up jazz musician Theron Brown, who will be portraying Herbie Hancock in Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic, and writer Scott Piepho gets the deal on Record Store Day with Square Records owner David Ignizio.


Name: Theron Brown
Age: 28
Hometown: Born in Zanesville, OH
Neighborhood: West Akron, near Wallhaven
Occupation: Musician, jazz pianist, teacher, educator, actor—yes, folks he has a SAG card.

Theron Brown (PHOTO: Svetla Morrison)
Theron Brown (PHOTO: Svetla Morrison)

Who do you wish was on more Akronites radar?

The arts and culture in general, in Akron. I just don’t think they know the wealth of what’s going on. I mean all my friends are “killing at music” since 2005, (smiles) like Nathan Davis and the Admirables, which is a band that has a real heart felt soul-jazz groove; they should also check out: Dan Wilson, guitar player; Chris Coles on sax; The Acid Cats, they play jazz fusion and Bobby Selvaggio on alto sax.

What is your favorite local cultural asset?

People, always had the support, plus friends. I don’t think people realize how Akron supports that cultural family of music and wants it.

When did you fall for Akron?

I think it was when I left the Glenn Miller orchestra in 2010, then I lived and played in New York City. I missed my guys in Akron. I had a big following here and there was my church, City of Joy—and again, the people, connections being in a position when I could help, it’s my home.

Where in Akron do you like to escape?

Well, I like to hang out with friends. I’m engaged, you know—Toni and I would love to travel abroad more, to get some different culture. There’s movies, basketball, a person has to ask me to do something, or I’ll just sit all day at home on the piano. (laughs)

Why should everyone try your local favorite restaurant?

I love soul food, so Pammie’s Restaurant (Ribs, Chicken & Fish) on Copley Rd, off of South Hawkins, by the Save-A-Lot. Dan Wilson introduced me to that, I usually go once or twice a week (laughs), and it’s probably bad to go twice a week, huh? No, don’t put that in there (laughs pointing at my notes) I might be going after this interview. It’s a hole in the wall type of place, but the food is really good.

How do you think Akron will be different in five years?

There will be a big time difference. I see leaders coming together, people involved, like in the akron2detroit trip, an organization funded by the Knight Foundation that tours neighborhoods in cities, innovating ideas to influence young people and helping to improve the city, making a difference. I’m on the music side and I’m going to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks with akron2pittsburgh.


Name: David Ignizio
Age: 40
Hometown: Akron
Neighborhood: Merriman Hills
Occupation: Owner/Manager, Square Records.

David Ignizio at Square Records (PHOTO: The Akronist)
David Ignizio at Square Records (PHOTO: The Akronist)

Who do you wish was on more Akronites’ radar?

I’ll go with a music-related one. A guy named Gabe Schray that’s been making music for quite a while now, for like 15 years or so. Various band and puts out a lot of solo records of his own, under his own name. He used to be in the House Guests, he was the bass player for House Guests for a long time. Kind of makes it hard for people to get to know about him I guess because he puts out very limited edition CDs. Puts out a lot of music but it’s never really well promoted. But I like all his stuff a lot. [It’s] all instrumental. Almost kind of dub influenced. Electronic at times. Very nice stuff.

What is your favorite local cultural asset?

The Nightlight. Relatively new but I’ve been going there quite a bit. They opened like last summer. Probably been there about 20 times to see films since then. Got to know the people down there. I really like how they’ve been booking movies. There’s always something really interesting even if it’s not something I’ve heard of before or that I don’t usually watch. I’ll always give it a chance based on their reputation with me so far.

When did you fall for Akron?

Probably not until the second time I lived here because I moved away when I was 20. Didn’t come back until I was 26. But yeah, after leaving for a while I think then getting some perspective. When you’re young a lot of people just want to get out of where they’re from. A lot of people when they’re younger think this area is sort of dead end. Coming back here and starting a business and meeting so many people through doing that. Being able to do things here that maybe I wouldn’t be able to do in other cities I lived in. Just a lot of opportunities here because things are kind of cheap and you can kind of, if you’ve got an idea, you can kind of roll with it.

Where in Akron do you like to escape?

We do a lot of hiking and stuff like that. Metroparks in general you know, try to mix it up. The last few years me and my wife have done the Fall Hiking Spree. Just visiting a lot of the areas, places we hadn’t checked out before.

Why should everyone try your favorite restaurant?

I do go to Nuevo pretty frequently just because they’ve got kind of an interesting twist on. It’s Mexican, but pretty modern. It’s definitely different from the other Mexican restaurants around here. Also their drinks are really good; margaritas are really good.

How do you think Akron will be different in five years?

Probably not much different. I think Akron is on like a slow track a lot of times which is not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of the major changes that have happened around here seem to always take a really long time. In five years I imagine it will be on a slow steady growing path that I feel it’s on right now. If you look at it now from where it was five years back there’s a lot of really great things that have come about in those five years. Hopefully it just keeps going on that.