Jazz Guitarist Norman Brown

Norman Brown is another of the newer talents I like to spend a little time with. Quick, smooth and precise, Norman is easy to listen to while reading, driving, cooking, partying, a whole range of activities. Brown does all of his own arrangements and creates some great combinations of talent and instruments.

Guitarist Norman Brown

Guitarist Norman Brown

His 2008 album After the Storm was Jazz Album of the Year on at least two charts. It is one of my favorites and it features a great version of  That’s the Way Loves Goes, a composition by James Harris, Terry Lewis and Janet Jackson.

Another great track on this CD is Norman’s shift to the acoustic guitar. Titled  Acoustic Time, this is a soft, lovely tune:

Brown is probably best recognized for his version of Ernie Isely’s  For the Love of You, which gets tons of play on all smooth jazz radio stations and live streams.

Speaking of live jazz streaming, Norman Brown (like the jazz radio pioneer Dave Koz) broadcasts a great show every weekend on The Smooth Jazz Network.  The link is http://smoothjazznetwork.com

I also really enjoy Norman’s Just Between Us CD.

thejazzmonger

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Gota – Man of Many Talents

Continuing the short series of posts on some of the newer artists and groups that I listen to regularly, I have to give a big shout out to Gota. His full name is Gota Yashiki, but he performs and records under his first name only.

I am listening to this guy all the time. Whether it’s CDs in the car or the big system at home, earbuds stuck into the laptop, or the SanDisk player on an airline flight, a little Gota always perks me up.

Gota Live

Gota Live

Born in Kyoto, Japan, a young Gota learned traditional Japanese Drums. In 1982, at the age of 20, he moved to Tokyo and became a drummer in various reggae groups and started experimenting with electronic dubbing. By 1988 Gota was based in London and heavily involved in studio remixing and working on film soundtracks. He also worked with a number of top recording artists and groups.

Moving beyond just his talent for drumming, Gota became heavily involved in the programming of electronic instruments and remixing. He recorded and toured with Simply Red, and contributed to recordings by Seal, Soul II Soul, Swing Out Sister & Depeche Mode. Alanis Morissette has called him the “Groove Activator” on her brerakout album Jagged Little Pill. He played drums and programmed all the electronic instruments on Sinead O’Connor‘s smash hit Nothing Compares 2 U.

Let's Get Started cover

Let's Get Started cover


In 1999 came the American release of Gota’s second album, Let’s Get Started, where I first discovered him. Lend an ear to the title track:

The third track on Let’s Get.. became a No. 1 hit on Jazz radio. Listen to In the City Life

In 2001, Gota released day & night, a strong follow-up to Let’s Get..
Still working in the style of electronic, fusion Jazz, day & night is another strong collection of tunes and one of those rare albums that are great to play just straight through. Track 1, Cruisin’ Your Way is absolutely one of my favorite up-tempo Jazz pieces. Give it a listen:

I hope these samples of this terrifically creative artist motivate you to buy his CDs. I am believer in artists getting paid and the music I put up here is meant only to whet your appetite and turn you into a paying customer.

thejazzmonger
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Down To The Bone – the non-band

DTTB logo

When I am looking to get groovy, get funky. When I am in one of those moods where I want my shoulders shaking and my head bobbing, I put on a little Down To The Bone. I call them a non-band because DTTB is essentially the genius of Stuart Wade – DJ, mixer, producer – pushed through a varying mixture of musicians.

Stuart Wade

Stuart Wade

Wade never studied music, nor does he play any instrument. He is not a composer, in the traditional sense. Rather, he “creates music” by humming tunes and grooves into a Dictaphone, or face-to-face with musicians in the recording studio. Over several years he has collaborated with a sizable group of musicians in producing three very successful albums with a new one about to be released. If this sounds kind of bush-league to you, take a few minutes and listen to the two sample tracks below.

My favorite is From Manhattan To Staten, released in 1997 by nuGroove Records. This is a collection of funky beats and cool Jazz. Take a sample of the opening track, Staten Island Groove:

My favorite DTTB track, without a doubt, is Brooklyn Heights. In fact, it is one of my favorite Jazz tracks of all time. I defy you to keep still with this track going at a decent volume. I love to listen to this one through my Sennheiser headphones, getting every note from every instrument. My grandson, Evan, when he was just a wee tot, became a groovy dancer when I would put on a little Brooklyn Heights. Cutest thing ever. If you’re holding a beverage, put it down before you listen to this tune:

Manhattan to Staten cover

Manhattan to Staten cover

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