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The Funky Joint

Paul Brown

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Album Review

One of the challenges of being a mega-successful producer and artist whose talents run deeper and more diverse than what you're known for is trying to find a few spots to showcase that deeper soul in the midst of the in the pocket stuff fans and record labels expect. No surprise that Brown's inviting his favorite musicians and fans to enter a realm called The Funky Joint on his sixth solo CD. He's been making smooth jazz funkier and more dynamic for years, scoring over 50 number one radio hits for genre stars like Boney James, Euge Groove, George Benson, Norman Brown, and Larry Carlton. From the mid-2000s on, he's scored his own share of solo hits as a grooving, old-school leaning electric guitarist. He lays the foundation of this infectious, well played set with crisply rendered tunes like the retro-flavored, easy grooving title track (colored beautifully by the rising sparks of the Jerry Hey horns) and the balmy meditation "Say It Like It Is." He shines an ample spotlight on some brilliant collaborators, from newcomer Jonathan Fritzen ("Tuff Times") to saxmen Euge Groove (who enters the party better late than never on the silky and sensual "From the Ground Up"), and Darren Rahn (the power ballad "Ya Dig"). There's more creative jazz spark, however, on the numbers he does with Boney James and Marc Antoine (the Stanley Turrentine-flavored "As Clear as Day") and keyboard legend Bob James (whose cool runs play off Brown's energetic strumming on "Backstage Pass"). But the emotional centerpieces that transcend all the cool funk and jazz are the tracks where Brown digs deeper into blues and complements his guitar lines with his increasingly emotional lead vocals. "Love Don't Come EZ" tells us how to make love work, and the simmering closer "I Get a Feeling" takes the guitarist's artistry to a realm previous jazz/rock/blues efforts have paved the way for. The fact that Brown earned a nomination for "Best Vocalist" at the 2011 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards (where he had the chance to sit in with Carlton) speaks volumes about his ability to create richly emotional songs in a multitude of ways. The joint is funky, but the blues is where Brown's heart is.

Biography

Born: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Paul Brown's talents as producer/engineer have earned him two Grammy Awards and an impressive string of more than 40 number one hits on Radio & Records' smooth jazz chart. In an illustrious career spanning over two decades, Brown has worked on projects for such influential artists as George Benson, Al Jarreau, Kirk Whalum, Patti Austin, Norman...
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The Funky Joint, Paul Brown
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