Brown has been dropping album after album of some of
the best jazz music around the last 12 years ever since his debut
set 'After the Storm' hit
store shelves in 1992. After winning a grammy in the 'Best
Pop Instrumental' category (beats me that he didn't
get it in the Jazz category) for his last release 'Just
Chilling' in 2002, it was about time the world was
made aware of Norman's immense talent. Speaking of his talent
the bar was set for Norman for him to answer the question of 'Can
he top 'Just Chilling' - well
the answer is yes he can.
Norman returns with his latest
release 'West Coast Coolin'
- an album of both covers and originals that embrace the jazz
genre and takes it up a notch - Norman Brown style. Last time
out Norman tried his hand at singing on a few tracks and now fans
"My fans kept asking
me to do more singing," explains Brown "At the same
time I wanted to go further into some of the great Soul and R&B
sounds that have been such a tremendous influence on me. I tried
to bring those two goals together on this new album." And
he did with the assistance of some top-level producers in Paul
Brown, keyboardist on the last 3 albums for Norman,
as well as the tandom team of James Poyser
and Viktor Dupliax (known
for their work with the likes of Jill
Scott, Erykah Badu
and D'Angelo), all of whom
help laid down the foundation of Just Chillin as well.
The end result is a refreshing
breath of fresh air in 'West Coast Coolin'
- an album that's sexual and sensual (where the music is concerned)
and seems to bridge the gap between R&B, Soul and Jazz.
Hailing from Shreveport, La Norman's parents had relocated to
Kansas City when he was 8 years old. It was here that he first
came aquainted with the electricfying brilliance of Jimi
Hendrix and he too wanted to play the guitar in the
same manner but his father a steelworker introduced him to Jazz
legend Wes Montgomery and
Norman's course was set - he wanted to be a jazz instrumentalist.
After graduating high school,
Brown headed west to study at the renowned Musician's Institute
in Los Angeles, eventually landing a teaching job at the school
even as he put together his first jazz combo and began playing
on the city's thriving club scene. Brown had already garnered
a small but fanatical following when he landed his first recording
contract with Motown Records.
Back to the music though,
the track I chose to review today is 'I
Might' a smooth groove number that shines on all
levels. Featuring Norman and singer Carol
Riddick on vocals, the song isn't the typical fair
in jazz soul but rather it offers a ray of sunshine for you to
store in your memory for your rainy days. Excellent production
and Norman's playing are the highlights but it's just a satisfying
track from start to finish.
The album is in stores now
so with Christmas just around the corner you might want to put
this one on your shopping list. A worthy TY-D
pick indeed - period
Listen to Norman
Brown ft: Carol Riddick -