The Very Best of Norman Brown

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Oh yeah. GRP comes up with a compilation worthy of its title. Between 1992 and 1996, guitarist, composer, and arranger Norman Brown released three albums -- Just Between Us, After the Storm, and Better Days Ahead -- for the MoJazz imprint he was the first solo artist signed to the label. He was the first guitarist since George Benson to lay out solid grooves where genuine improvisation met the groove consciousness with a seamless blend of R&B, deep soul, and funk. His playing is warm, eclectic, and literally stunning in places, even over standard R&B rhythmic foundations. But his recordings -- particularly Just Between Us and the truly electrifying After the Storm --...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Oh yeah. GRP comes up with a compilation worthy of its title. Between 1992 and 1996, guitarist, composer, and arranger Norman Brown released three albums -- Just Between Us, After the Storm, and Better Days Ahead -- for the MoJazz imprint he was the first solo artist signed to the label. He was the first guitarist since George Benson to lay out solid grooves where genuine improvisation met the groove consciousness with a seamless blend of R&B, deep soul, and funk. His playing is warm, eclectic, and literally stunning in places, even over standard R&B rhythmic foundations. But his recordings -- particularly Just Between Us and the truly electrifying After the Storm -- took the entire "smooth jazz" genre to an entirely new level. His compositions and his way of playing covers -- as demonstrated by the inclusion of his reads of the Isley Brothers' "For the Love of You," Stevie Wonder's "Too High" on which the composer guests as vocalist, Marcus Miller and Luther Vandross' "Any Love," as well as R. Kelly's "Your Body's Callin'" are so remarkable, uplifting, and downright sexy it's no wonder that they resounded in the NAC radio consciousness the way they did. Critically, those jazzheads who didn't dismiss smooth jazz entirely could see it. But these records never crossed over the way they should have. This can be attributed to many causes: the deep niche fragmentation of FM radio, the lack of videos shown anywhere but BET why not VH1? despite the fact that these sets all made the mainstream Top 200 Billboard charts. It begs questions about race and class in American popular culture that is beyond the scope of this review. As this best-of illustrates, Brown's MoJazz albums are literally unequaled for their time period and stand with Grover Washington's Soul Box and Mister Magic, or Benson's aforementioned classic, or even Wes Montgomery's Down Here on the Ground as revolutionary. They should have crossed over into the mainstream in the same way those earlier recordings did. In the post-LP, 45 rpm and jukebox era, these are recordings that demand a serious reconsideration. One has to wonder why Universal, GRP's parent company, hasn't issued any "Deluxe Editions" of any of the disc this Very Best Of comes from. The 11 cuts chosen here may not be the deepest from those albums, but they were the most popular, and that counts for plenty. Check the cover of "After the Love Is Gone," James Brown's "That's the Way Love Goes," or Brown's own "Just Between Us," as the terrain where so many genres meet, commingle, and come out as something recombinant. That something of course is the very best of smooth jazz. This is highly recommended as an example of popular art at is best.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/22/2005
  • Label: Grp Records
  • UPC: 602498867617
  • Catalog Number: 000563002
  • Sales rank: 26,737

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 That's the Way Love Goes (4:46)
  2. 2 Better Days Ahead (5:43)
  3. 3 Just Between Us (5:09)
  4. 4 Any Love (5:24)
  5. 5 Too High - Stevie Wonder (5:12)
  6. 6 Lydian (6:32)
  7. 7 Moonlight Tonight (5:38)
  8. 8 After the Storm (4:46)
  9. 9 After the Love Is Gone (5:04)
  10. 10 Your Body's Callin' (5:51)
  11. 11 For the Love of You (5:21)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Norman Brown Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Boyz II Men Background Vocals
Bobby Lyle Piano
Baby Lee Background Vocals
Gary Bias Flute, Saxophone
Ray Brown Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Bridgette Bryant Background Vocals
Paulinho Da Costa Percussion
Tony Dumas Bass
Nathan East Bass
Lynne Fiddmont Background Vocals
Rayford Griffin Drums
Herman Jackson Synthesizer, Keyboards
Munyungo Jackson Percussion
Larry Kimpel Bass, Bass Guitar
Wayne Linsey Keyboards
James Manning Bass
Charles Morris Drums
Richard Patterson Bass, Bass Guitar
Jerry Peters Keyboards
Land Richards Cymbals, Drums
Sam Sims Bass
Troy Taylor Background Vocals
Stevie Wonder Harmonica, Vocals
Arnold McCuller Background Vocals
Crayge Lindesay Bass, Keyboards, wah wah guitar
Mike Baker Drums
Freddie "Ready Freddie" Washington Bass
Neron Thomas Background Vocals
Reginald Young Trombone
Jeffrey Clayton Flute, Saxophone
Gail Jhonson Keyboards
Technical Credits
Janet Jackson Composer
Luther Vandross Composer
Norman Brown Composer, Audio Production
Bill Champlin Composer
Norman Connors Producer
Charles Farrar Producer
Lynne Fiddmont Vocal Arrangements
Marvin Isley Composer
O'Kelly Isley Composer
Ronald Isley Composer
Rudolph Isley Composer
Herman Jackson Arranger, Producer, drum programming
Terry Lewis Composer
Steve McKeever Producer
Marcus Miller Composer
Land Richards Arranger
John Starks Composer
Denise Stewart Vocal Arrangements
Troy Taylor Arranger, Producer
Allan Tucker Mastering
Stevie Wonder Arranger, Composer
Benjamin F. Wright Arranger, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements
Crayge Lindesay Arranger, drum programming
J. Brown Composer
Tom Terrell Liner Notes
Hollis King Art Direction
Charles Bobbit Composer
Angel Rodgers Composer
Joseph Arrington Composer
Stephanie Stein Crease Note Editing
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