No instruments dominate smooth jazz more than the guitar and saxophone, which is why Gerald Albright and Norman Brown, two of the genre’s most dominant players, make such an inspired pairing. Both musicians are on the top of their game and while 24/7 breaks no new ground, it does provide perfect listening for warm summer nights when a cool groove is required.
Multi-instrumentalist Albright’s array of saxophones and robust tone tends to slightly overshadow Brown’s deft guitar playing at times, but never overwhelms it. Brown recedes a bit from a soloist to sideman, but seems comfortable allowing Albright to do the heavy lifting while he follows his lead.
There’s a definite “back in the day” vibe to 24/7 with ample amounts of funk, soul and a taste of quiet storm to “In the Moment,” “Champagne Life” and the title track which features the striking vocals of the saxophonist’s daughter, Selina Albright.
Above all, Albright and Brown are experts at entertaining the audience. There’s no pretense of anything historical or monumental in 24/7. The duo have secured their place in contemporary jazz and even if they aren’t breaking new ground, they clearly have a synergy that makes this stylish collaboration work so well.
On a personal note, a few years ago I caught Norman Brown doing it live at the Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest and Albright last year at the gone and now forgotten Vonn Jazz and Blues Club and he torn the roof off the sucka. They are doing some gigs together to promote their collaboration, and it’s just too bad they are playing at Jazz and Rib Festival this year. The weak line-up of acts isn’t giving me much reason to grab some lawn chairs and a cooler and venture out into the summer heat.
Guess I’ll just stay home and turn up 24/7 in the comfort of my home. Spare myself of paying for parking, fighting for a good spot to hear the show or not having enough wet-napkins to wipe the barbecue sauce off my fingers.
Track Listing: In the Moment; Keep It Moving; Perfect Love; Buenos Amigos; Tomorrow; Yes I Can; 24/7; Champagne Life; The Best Is Yet to Come; Power of Your Smile
Personnel: Gerald Albright: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flutes, bass guitar, percussion, programming; electronic wind instrument; background vocals; Norman Brown: lead guitar, rhythm gutiar; Tracy Carter: keyboards (1, 7, 8, 10); Rick Watford: rhythm guitar (1, 4, 8); Jay Williams: drums (1, 4, 7, 8); Herman Jackson: keyboards (2, 3, 5. 6, 9): Byron Miller: bass (2, 3, 5, 6, 9); Charles Steeter: drums (2, 3, 5, 6, 9) ; Ramon Ysalas: percussion (2, 5, 6, 9); Rochella Brown: vocals (3); Demille Cole-Heard: vocals (3); Phil Davis: keyboards (4); Selina Albright: vocals (7, 8) ; Ricky Lawson: drums (10); Mark Cagill: strings, harp and bell programming (10)
Originally published at All About Jazz.
- Gerald Albright & Norman Brown – 24/7 (smoothjazztherapy.typepad.com)
- Contemporary Jazz Greats GERALD ALBRIGHT and NORMAN BROWN Join Forces On New Concord Album 24/7 set for release on June 19, 2012 (theurbanflux.com)
- Newport Beach Jazz Festival-Day 2 (passionatefan.wordpress.com)