Paul Brown | The Funky Joint

Paul Brown - The Funky Joint CD Cover Art

Paul Brown | The Funky Joint
(Woodward Avenue)
By George Strand

Year in – Year out, Contemporary Jazz Guitarist/Producer Paul Brown continues to beat the pavement, regardless of how many sour apples taint the overall smooth jazz market. Regardless to the lack of radio station vibes towards the genre and regardless of the massive drop in record sales. The gentleman of the smooth jazz flow breaks out his passion for the groove with the release of “The Funky Joint”.

Paul is joined by hip session players Jeff Carruthers (keys/wah wah/bass/drums – ‘what instrument does he NOT play?’) – Roberto Vally & Bryant Siono (basses), Charles Streeter, Marco Basci, Ricky Lawson & m.b. Gordy (drums), Victor Cisneros (sax) Marc Antoine & Tommy Kay (nylon guitars), and special guests that include saxophonist Euge Groove.

In regard to Mr. Brown’s taste for the groove, the CD opens up with a direct hit to it. “The Funky Joint” lays out a straight punch to the groove line and from there it doesn’t stop. Saxophonist Boney James dances around the melody of “As Clear As Day” while “Montreux” displays the soft agility of Paul Brown’s touch on the guitar strings. The musical flow comes off as smooth as whipped cream.

Other highlights to listen for are the special touch of the background vocals that Dax Reynosa lend to the R&B sound of “Love Don’t Come EZ” (on which Paul also showcases his singing); pianist Jonathan Fritzen crafts a special addition to “Tuff Times”; and “Ya Dig,” featuring sax man Darren Rahn, is indeed the more edgier, funkier candy bar of the entire CD – easily one of my favorites.

“Backstage Pass” featuring piano great Bob James and the production prowess of gifted keyboardist Bob Baldwin is also a special feature that should be noted.

This 10-track Paul Brown package is one of the smoothest releases of his entire discography – fresh and appealing with no flaws. Whether or not mainstream radio will carry any of his tracks out for rotation should be of no concern. If you still have a penchant for great, laid back easy listening jazz music with a little edge to it, grab this one. The Funky Joint is an absolute winner.

I give it 4+ out of 5.

George Strand
The Urban Music Scene