Gerald Albright & Norman Brown | 24/7

Gerald Albright - Norman Brown 247

Gerald Albright & Norman Brown – 24/7
Concord Music Group
By Peggy Oliver

If one is seeking the perfect summer smooth jazz breeze, or better yet, a super sweet jazz treat for all seasons, there is one special project that is a must hear headlining two of the contemporary jazz’s most respected musicians. Multi-instrumentalist Gerald Albright, who has backed superstars from Phil Collins to The Temptations, and guitarist Norman Brown (compared frequently to George Benson) who began with Motown’s custom label Mo Jazz in 1992, finally connect for a retro jazz/R&B anchored ride entitled 24/7. Titling this Concord Jazz disc 24/7 truly reflects the long dedication towards their craft.

Albright and Brown have built solid fan bases during their solo careers in the contemporary jazz field. As a dream team, they produce no real sour notes on 24/7 due to Albright and Brown’s unwavering chemistry. This is mainly because they are fully attuned to each other; whether through their articulation with the melody or easily navigating through the ad-libs. Though their tones are quite the opposite, Albright’s more soulfully animated personality and Brown’s laid-back approach always
find a common ground.

Within 24/7’s ten tracks are a fulfilling variety of moods and grooves. The high energy pop nuanced, “Keep It Moving,” is written by Brown’s long time production partner, Herman Jackson. Funk runs its smooth head on “In the Moment” highlighted by entertaining ‘on the fly’ solos from Albright and Brown and “Yes I Can” that bridges smooth and funk effortlessly.
“Buenos Amigos” offers a sensuous and swinging Latin kick graced by Albright’s shear precision saxophone and rich percussive touches by Ramon Ysalas. It is quite commonplace in contemporary jazz to include cover tracks in the mix and 24/7 is no exception. The Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson) composition “Tomorrow,” one of Tevin Campbell’s R&B number #1 hits from back in the day. This arrangement starts a tad slow, but picks up steam over half-way through when Albright and Brown indulge in an irresistible conversation through the song’s end. R&B Singer Ne-Yo’s hit single “Champagne Life,” is transformed into a surprising silky jazz canvas backed by Albright’s daughter, Selina Albright. “Power of Your Smile,” wraps up 24/7 with a soothing yet uplifting ballad, complimented by a few string waterfalls courtesy of violinist Mark Cargill. After thirty years of friendship, 24/7 is the definitive thank you gift from Gerald Albright and Norman Brown in sharing their musical passion with their fans.

Five out of five stars.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene