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Let’s Get Away

JazzTimes Magazine described guitarist Norman Brown’s music as “a culmination of Jimi Hendrix and George Benson with some Wes Montgomery thrown in”. Sounds like a delicious concoction arising out of a musical upbringing in Louisiana and Kansas City. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of his debut, this revered smooth guitarist offers influences of Wes and George on his new album, Let’s Get Away.  Norman has said of Wes, “He exposed me to guitar playing so creative that it showed me a total range of musical expression that touches every emotion from warmth, to edgy, to excitement to all the way to blazing”. He even covers “Down Here On The Ground” which was Wes’s version of the theme song from the movie Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman and George Kennedy. Norman’s version is special In that it’s a tribute to both  Wes and his dad, Roy Brown Sr. Norman says this take on the song  was recorded to bring joy to his father by “fulfilling his dad's request to learn Montgomery’s version note for note, phrase for phrase and the feeling of his rhythmic touch”. 

While in lockdown and for the first time not touring, Norman found himself, like many of us, cleaning out our garages and closets only to discover material that inspires us. His love of Wes’s style continues to be reflected on “Wes Side Story” - a toe tapper with a beautiful blend of guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. This laid back theme runs through tracks like “L.A. Chill”, “Late Night Drive” and “Sunset On Chandler” with its North Hollywood-inspired chill beat.   Norman’s distinctive guitar sound is partially courtesy of his Signature Model of Singleton Guitar.  The tone is rich, full and “phat”,  according to maker Touch Singleton.

My other favourites are the single, “Back At Ya”, “Easy Livin’' and the title track which should definitely be on anyone’s playlist who’s been thinking of getting away for awhile, whether by taking a vacation or by just using music to escape the daily stress of life for awhile.  Make this your post-lockdown soundtrack - it's a smooth, chill groove. Sounds good to me.

Gary James
The Wave At Night
7pm to Midnight EST

94.7 FM HD2 / 95.9 FMHD2 Toronto

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