Following on from guitarist Norman Brown’s 2020 project ‘Heart To Heart’ comes the highly anticipated ‘Lets Get Away’, a fine amalgam of jazz, R&B, pop and blues all delivered with the sort of style that has become Brown’s calling card.
Produced and mixed by Paul Brown the collection opens with the exquisite ‘Back At Ya’ that is also the first single to be serviced to radio. Co-written with Lew Laing and Paul Brown (who plays percussion on the track) Norman’s crisp and buttery riffs are a delight and with subtle sax from Greg Vail this has radio ready written all over it. In fact Paul Brown co-writes five of the ten choice tunes with another being ‘Late Night Drive’ for which Norman teams with Paul Brown and Gerald McCauley to create a song that proves to be evocative in the extreme.
Much the same can be said of the brass enriched ‘LA Chill’ that Norman writes with Jeff Carruthers. It is a number that benefits from a horn section comprising trumpeter Ron King and sax-man Greg Vail and this same line-up is again perfectly on point with the big ballsy ‘Talk It Out’ that is penned by Brown, Brown and multi instrumentalist Shane Theriot.
Composed by Norman Brown and R & B producer Wirlie Morris (who also handles lead vocals) the soul drenched title cut is right on the money and this is certainly the case with another Norman Brown / Wirlie Morris enterprise, ‘I Won’t Hurt You’ where vocals are in the capable hands of James Champion.
The album’s only cover is a dreamy reimaging of Lalo Schifrin’s ‘Down Here On The Ground’ that he wrote in 1967 for the motion picture Cool Hand Luke while in terms of personal favourites the ultra chilled ‘Sunset On Chandler’ is right up there with the best that ‘Let’s Get Away’ has to offer. In this respect it is in the good company of the delightfully feel good ‘Easy Livin’ that comes complete with a wonderful horn arrangement from Greg Vail yet all things considered the Smooth Jazz Therapy top track is the sumptuous ‘Wes Side Story’. Also co-written by Paul Brown this is Norman’s tribute to guitar legend Wes Montgomery.
Without doubt the best smooth jazz CD of the year so far ‘Let’s Get Away’ is the real deal and then some.