After switching to the Stratocaster on his previous album, Paul Brown returns to his trademark Gibson L-5 and engages in some of the richest, most expressive playing of his career on his sixth solo recording, the perfectly titled deeply grooving, blues and R&B intensive Woodward Avenue debut The Funky Joint. The veteran guitarist and composer complements his crisp and cool melodies and licks with harmonies and solos by many of the top artists that he has produced or played with over the years, including Boney James, Bob James, Euge Groove, Marc Antoine, Bob Baldwin and Darren Rahn. Yet whether he’s amping up or chilling out, he keeps his axe front and center as the emotional lead voice. The invitation to enter The Funky Joint begins with the mid tempo title track, which features the rising coolness of the Jerry Hey horns and cool retro atmospheres behind Brown’s crisp melody. With a classic soul-jazz vibe reminiscent of Stanley Turrentine’s classic “Sugar,” “As Clear As Day” is a wistful off the beaten path venture featuring a light funk swirl of Boney James’ sax, Brown’s electric, Antoine’s acoustic and colorful synth flute harmonies by Marco Basci. Taking us next on a moody and sensual excursion to “Montreux,” Brown floats his easygoing lines over Basci’s simmering keys and touches of retro-soul elegance; as it heats up, the track features more playful guitar action and a shimmering Fender Rhodes solo.
On the seductive, easy swaying “Say It Like It Is,” Brown kicks it with some crunchy, shuffling percussion textures and dark toned keys before drifting into a gentle tropical vibe enhanced by the horns and elegant wordless vocals. The reflective ballad “Love Don’t Come EZ,” featuring Brown’s first lead vocal of the set, finds him complementing his lyrics about what it takes to make love work with dark guitar tones and hypnotic hand clap percussion. From easy to hard, “Tuff Times” meditates beautifully on the challenges of romance with a strumming style and sharp tone like that of Larry Carlton, backed by the horns and elegant piano harmonies of guest star Jonathan Fritzen. Brown penned the mid tempo, easy grooving “Backstage Pass” with keyboardists Bob Baldwin and Bob James, and with some crafty arrangement choices, the result is a spirited all out duet between Brown and James, with the pianist’s graceful runs playing off the easy high toned strum lines as hypnotic atmospheres color the background.
On “Ya Dig,” Brown translates the chemistry he and Rahn share onstage into a soul searching ballad; as the passion rises, both the guitar and Rahn’s sax (which is doubled on the hook) reach exciting heartfelt places. While “From the Ground Up” is billed featuring Euge Groove, Brown lays a thoughtful bluesy ballad foundation before the saxman enters and takes it to the next emotional place; Brown and Groove’s soaring bluesy fun is well worth the few minute wait. Though it’s a slight departure from the rest of the set, Brown’s closer, the powerful uplifting blues vocal tune “I Get A Feeling,” takes his artistry to a level that some of the previous simmering blues excursions only hinted at. It may come at the end, and it might surprise listeners who best know Brown for his in the pocket easy funk, but “I Get A Feeling” is clearly the emotional centerpiece of this rewarding trip to The Funky Joint.
"Multiple Grammy-Award winning guitarist, singer and producer Paul Brown has the Midas touch. With over 50 #1 smooth jazz radio hits credit, the innovative guitar God has engineered and produced for virtually every top contemporary jazz artist during the past two decades. Brown's talents have been summoned by such luminaries as George Benson, Patti Austin, Al Jarreau, Boney James, Luther Vandross and Kirk Whalum among countless others. Featuring Paul's soulful vocal smash, 'Love You Found Me,' 'Toast and Jam,' 'Sugarfish' and more!! Paul Brown is the most prolific hit maker in the history of Smooth Jazz. -Shanachie "I'm particularly proud of this CD. I feel that it expresses my true musical self. My best yet.
Perfectly capturing the hopeful spirit of global cooperation that defines these challenging times, Foreign Exchange, the stylistically diverse, coolly exotic collaboration by superstar guitarists Marc Antoine and Paul Brown, is more than simply a fresh and compelling addition to their formidable solo discographies—it’s the contemporary urban jazz event of the year.
Paul Brown, one of the leading Contemporary Jazz guitarists/producers in the world, makes his stunning debut on Peak Records celebrating his intense musical foundation with an elite group of friends. "Friends” included are Al Jarreau, Boney James, Bobby Caldwell, Lina, Euge Groove, Rick Braun, Jeff Lorber, Jesse J and David Benoit.
Driven by seven powerful originals and three unique reworkings of recognizable classics, White Sand is a celebration of the great soul sounds from different eras (60’s “soul jazz” through 70’s old school and modern hip-hop) that have both influenced and informed the producer/guitarist ’s legacy as a multi-talented creative force in contemporary jazz.
Brown has been creating distinctive, “hummable” tracks for other artists for years and has a keen instinct for knowing what his fans want to hear. On “White Sand”, his third album as a solo artist, Brown has created some immediately identifiable tracks which are destined to be come instant crowd pleasers. Brown, a two time Grammy award winner, was also named the “most played” artist in the 2006 year end charts for Radio and Records with his #1 track, “Winelight”. “White Sand” is an album that will be “seen” and “heard” for years to come.
Before guitarist-composer Paul Brown released his debut album Up Front, his highly successful career as a producer-engineer had earned him the industry honorarium "Babyface of Smooth Jazz". After universal critical acclaim and months on Billboard and R & R's Contemporary Jazz charts, Up Front made Brown a star.
Brown was guaranteed to capitalize on Up Front's smooth jazz breakthrough with his sophomore recording, The City. Co-produced with multi-instrumentalist/digital editor D.C. and featuring some of the best musicians - Boney James, Chuck Loeb, Jerry Hey, Michael Paulo, Jeff Carruthers, Roberto Vally, Herman Jackson, Dave Hooper, Dan Higgins - on today's scene, The City also showcases seven original tunes co-written by the guitarist.
The City opens up in with the funky and sensuous "Cosmic Monkey" featuring Jeffrey Osbourne's slinky overdubbed harmonies. "hello Again" is Wes Montgomery-breezy soul samba. Next up is "Side Steppin's high-spirited blast of '80l-era disco jazz. "The City"s dreamy blend of Boney James' soulful tenor saxophone, shvery keyboards, boogaloo congas, bluesy guitar and cognac-smooth jazz vocal follows.
"Las Vegas" is an exuberant congress of dancing guitar licks, Michael Paulo's throaty sax and a bouncing hip-hop swing beat. "Old Friends" is a quiet fire ballad caressed by Brown and James' tender interplay. "Winelight"s blend of Brown's Grover Washington Jr., channeling solos and tasty club beats is complemented by the silky-smooth paraty starter "Jumpin' Uptown". "Food for the Moon"s cool 'n funky hip-hop jazz groove flows into a faithful/playful voice box-juiced version of Jonny "Guitar" Watson's "Reel Mutha For Ya". Fittingly, the album closes with the sublime Brown/James chillout duet "The City (Instrumental)".
The City proves beyond a doubt that Paul Brown is one of the most exciting and important guitarist in contemporary jazz.
Paul's debut CD, Up Front features 12 Songs, a number of which were co-written by Brown, who also produced the CD. Favorite cover tunes by James Taylor, Van Morrison, Wes Montogomery and Rodgers and Hart round out the album. Guitarist Peter White, multi-instrumentalist Jeff Carruthers, bassist Roberto Vally, trumpeter Jerry Hey and digital editor D.C., join Brown throughout the CD, as do special guests Boney James (saxophone), Jeff Lorber (vibraphone), Rick Braun (trumpet), Chuck Loeb (guitar) and others; the result is nothing less than a very smooth inviting groove.
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