Live music–who doesn’t love it? There is nothing quite like it, and on June 16th, live music is exactly what the city of Charlotte received. On that hot afternoon, fans packed the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre with much anticipation. No one was disappointed as artist after artist took to the stage, giving the crowd their all. Opening the show was a local talent, Darnell Showcase Taylor. If fans didn’t know him then, they definitely know him now. He was followed by Kindred the family soul who sang as the crowd swooned with them. The Rippingtons with their legendary jazz style and masterful musicianship, gave fans exactly what they came to see. When Will Downing graced the stage, everyone was beyond ready to hear him sing the songs they know all the words to. He is always a crowd favorite. And under the stars, Norman Brown closed the night with everyone in the palm of his hand. His performance was stellar, as always and spiritually moving. When it was all said and done, Norman Brown had undoubtedly left it all on that stage.
Urban-jazz guitarist dee Brown remembers his late fiancée with songs of love and joy
His fourth album is a celebration of life chronicling their time together with fun and spirited songs such as the new chart-bound single, “Pop the Question.”
SOUTHFIELD (22 June 2018): Two years ago, soul-jazz guitarist dee Brown was preparing for a summer wedding to his fiancée, gospel singer Shaunia Edwards. When her young life was tragically cut short by an unexpected illness, he was devastated, leaning on his strong faith to endure. Shifting his mindset from a mourning period during which he sought meaning by asking “Why?” to a perspective of positivity, Brown turned to writing, honoring the sweet, lasting memories of Edwards and their romance by composing lively, intimate and playful stories of love, laughter and hope. He shares his fond remembrances via the ten new songs that constitute his fourth album, “Remembering You,” his second release for Innervision Records.
Determined to make “Remembering You” a joy-filled affair, Brown imparts his charming recollections by setting his lyrically expressive, loose and improvisational cool jazz fretwork amidst ebullient pop nuances, pulsating dance beats and sensual R&B grooves. He picks, plays and scats soulfully throughout, inspired to celebrate his season with Edwards by deriving meaning from her lingering place in his heart, not in the loss of her physical presence.
“Shaunia was the reality of my dreams, a woman heaven sent to make me whole. ‘Remembering You’ celebrates her life and our life together. It’s purposely an upbeat celebration, not a mourning. The meaning that I derived from this experience and a message I think everyone can relate to is that we should exalt those in our lives as well as remember those who are no longer in our lives for whatever reason. Tomorrow is coming, but not necessarily for you. Share our love with those with us in the here and now because tomorrow is not guaranteed,” said Brown, who coproduced nine of the album’s tracks.
A loving, encouraging greeting from Edwards opens “Hey Baby,” the sweeping, feel-good first single illuminated by fervent guitar and alto sax banter on the cut that presaged the set’s arrival. Brown’s frequent writing and producing partner, pianist-keyboardist-programmer Valdez Brantley (Usher’s former music director), uses the vocoder to tantalize and tease on “Pop the Question,” the current chart-bound single that appears on the record in both album and d-Funk remix versions. Other noteworthy contributions are made by keyboardist Bob Baldwin, who also produced and cowrote the sleek and sophisticated “I Will”; Althea Rene, who adds fanciful flute flourishes to the vibrant escapade “Our Summer”; and keyboardist Nate Harasim, cowriter and producer of the sultry reflection “Beauty Within.”
A Detroit born and based guitar man who got his start in music as a vocalist, Brown launched his solo career in 2007 with “No Time To Waste.” Teaming with Valdez and Kern Brantley (Lady Gaga’s former music director and bassist who plays on “Remembering You’s” opener, “I Want You Too”) two years later for his sophomore outing, “A Little Elbowroom,” proved formative to his sound and style. Brown dropped his first recording for Innervision Records in 2014, “Brown Sugar Honey-Coated Love,” spawning the Top 15 Groove Jazz Music chart single, “Natural Love.”
Brown performs regularly on the Motor City music scene backed by Valdez Brantley, saxophonist Dezie McCullers Jr. and drummer Ron Otis, his core band that appears on the new album. Brown is looking forward to performing cuts from “Remembering You” in a big setting at the River Raisin Jazz Festival on August 11held in nearby Monroe, Michigan. One week later, his summer wedding will finally take place when he takes marriage vows with “a beautiful child of God.”
Brown’s “Remembering You” album contains the following songs:
“I Want You Too”
“Pop the Question”
“Pop the Question” (d-Funk remix)
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It’s been seven years since Michael Franks’ last album was released, and his fans are elated to receive “The Music In My Head” on June 8th. It is his 18th album to date in his 45 year career. Franks is known for his eloquent and poetic lyrics, clever song titles, and smooth charismatic delivery. Michael describes this project as “very true” and “very personal”– one in which you can hear and feel his “love for nature” as well as his everlasting love for his wife Claudia of 42 years. Once again, Franks has given us a plethora of musical gems while working in the studio with his musical comrades: Jimmy Haslip, David Spinozza, Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig, Eric Marienthal, Gary Meek, Bob Mintzer, and Rachel Z. He feels especially blessed to have also collaborated with his dear friend Chuck Loeb on the song “As Long As We’re Both Together.” It would be one of the last recordings Loeb would work on. Franks’ collection of ten new songs embraces listeners and glides them through a journey of love, nature, science-fiction, old LA jazz clubs, and healing relationships.
Listen and enjoy my interview with Michael Franks:
Saxophonist Michael Paulo calls upon friends to celebrate “Beautiful Day”
Ray Parker Jr., Paul Brown, Peter White, David Benoit, Paul Jackson Jr. and Brian Simpson are among his buddies illuminating the new soul-jazz album. The first single, “Who You Gonna Call?,” impacts radio.
MENIFEE (7 June 2018): From beginning to end, saxophonist Michael Paulo’s “Beautiful Day,” is a celebration of love, friendship and the Aloha spirit. Opening with the title track inspired by the joyous news that he was going to become a grandfather and closing with the timeless Carole King ode to friendship, “You’ve Got A Friend,” Paulo’s eleventh solo disc dropped on the Apaulo Productions imprint. The collection is comprised of eight Paulo compositions and five modern classics produced by Paulo with two tracks helmed by two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown. The first single presently collecting radio spins and playlist adds spotlights guitarist Ray Parker Jr. on the aptly titled “Who You Gonna Call?”
Inherent in Paulo’s soulful play emoted through tenor, soprano and alto saxes on “Beautiful Day” is an effervescent spirit, a hallmark that perhaps emanates from the DNA of his Hawaiian blood. A genuine sense of gratitude is another vital element present in his recordings. With that ethos, Paulo crafted a set list that enabled him to record with and feature some of his accomplished friends the likes of which include guitarists Parker Jr., Brown, Peter White and Paul Jackson Jr.; pianist David Benoit, keyboardist Brian Simpson, bassists Freddie Washington and Roberto Vally, percussionist Lenny Castro, and drummers Gorden Campbell and Michael White.
“I truly have the best friends in life that always are there to support me. ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ represents why I am able to do what I do. I hope this record will touch people emotionally. My approach to playing has always been about expressing feeling and emotion and drawing the listener in so that they forget all the stress in their lives. I hope it renews their spirit, so they can continue to be happy and express love. When I perform live, my biggest gratification is when I feel that I have uplifted people emotionally and they can go home feeling good about themselves and life in general. That’s our gift as musicians and I am so blessed to be able to do what I do,” said Paulo.
The album also showcases Paulo’s touring band – a trio of Hawaiians comprised of Kimo Cornwell (keyboards), David Inamine (bass) and Fred Schreuders (guitar) along with drummers Land Richards and Sergio Gonzalez – which will take the stage with Paulo at SoCal hotspot Spaghettini on July 21 to celebrate the release of “Beautiful Day.”
Paulo’s professional career spans more than forty years, and includes gigs playing alongside R&B, pop and jazz headliners Al Jarreau, James Ingram, Patti Austin, Jeffrey Osborne, Kenny Loggins, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Caldwell and Rick Braun. He debuted as a solo artist in 1977 with the Japan-only release of “Tat’s in the Rainbow,” an album that highlighted Herbie Hancock on keyboards. Paulo continues his dual career as a solo artist and as a first-call session player-sideman. He also produces concerts and jazz festivals in Hawaii and in the long-time California resident’s home state. These days, Paulo tours frequently with Peter White, who plies his signature delicate acoustic guitar nuances in addition to contributing to the arrangement for “Beautiful Day’s” profound version of Sting’s “Fragile.” The saxman’s longest touring association was with Jarreau, with whom he shared the stage throughout the late crossover crooner’s glory days.
“I recorded ‘Your Song’ as a tribute to Al, who gave me my big break when he hired me for his touring band in 1983. We toured the world together for eleven years and he featured me on his ‘Live in London’ album. I used his arrangement of ‘Your Song’ and David Benoit delivered a heartfelt piano performance. I miss Al.”
Paulo’s “Beautiful Day” album contains the following songs:
“Beautiful Day” featuring Paul Brown
“Mr. Magic” featuring Paul Brown
“Back with the Funk” featuring Paul Jackson Jr.
“Your Song” featuring David Benoit
“Who You Gonna Call?”
“You’ve Got A Friend”
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