June 29, 2010

Norman Brown - Sending My Love

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. As smooth jazz superstar Norman Brown limbers up for his now annual ‘Summer Storm’ concert tour (that gets underway July 16 at the Hyatt, Newport Beach, CA) there could be no better time for his latest CD, the excellent Sending My Love to hit the streets. Released June 22 on Peak Records it firmly returns him to the easy grooving guitar driven smooth jazz with which he made is name. For his fans both new and existing this is an album that is sure to find massive favour.

As early as the opening track, the infectious ‘Come Go With Me’, Brown lays down a marker as to the musical direction of this exquisite collection. It is a tune which displays the unmistakable style of this undoubted guitar maestro and he is again superb for the mid tempo ‘Thinking About You’ that is embellished with a delightful trace of velvety horns.

With the red thread of Latin rhythm running right through it, ‘Play Time’ is another opportunity for Brown to show off his jazzily intricate playing and when he switches to his under utilized singing voice the result is the heart warming ‘Celebrate Me Home’. Despite the surprise of finding a seasonal tune in mid summer this, nevertheless, is a welcome addition and Brown is also in fine vocal form for the distinctly romantic ‘One Last Goodbye’ that also betrays his penchant for an urban vibe. In fact Brown’s previous CD Stay With Me was replete with the kind of urban influences that currently permeate the landscape of contemporary jazz and he briefly goes back there for the extremely easy on the ear ‘I’m Pouring My Heart’.

Brown uses ‘Special Moments’ to fashion an introspective gem which is totally typical of his distinct approach and he stays in mellow mode for the atmospheric title cut that benefits from restrained yet powerful backing vocals.

‘Coming Back (Return Of The Man)’ not only puts Brown back in his familiar mid tempo groove but also close up and personal with a sizzling keyboard solo that sets the track apart as one of the album’s finest. However, that said, right up there with it is the seductively understated ‘Here’s My Number’. With a wow factor that is indecent and backing vocals which, late in the piece, come in like a gift from god, this might just be a metaphor for the very best of the genre.

For more on Brown and the entire listing of Summer Storm dates go to www.normanbrown.com

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at June 29, 2010 6:02 PM