Boogaloo - Paul Brown

The term “Renaissance Man” dates back to the time of Leonardo da Vinci, who was described as a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination.” Paul Brown’s four decade journey through the worlds of pop, R&B and jazz is the modern day musical equivalent. Starting as a drummer, he became an engineer for R&B legends (Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin) before evolving into a two time Grammy winning urban jazz producer (with over 60 #1 radio airplay hits) and finally a popular guitarist, artist and performer in his own right. 

In the remarkable 12 years since he released his debut album Up Front, Brown has released six albums (including three that hit the Top Ten on the Billboard Albums chart), scored countless hit singles, and done thousands of performances across the U.S. and internationally, including gigs with fellow guitarists Larry Carlton, Chris Standring and current labelmate Marc Antoine (with whom he recorded the 2009 album Foreign Exchange). And yet, as he releases One Way Back, his third collection on Woodward Avenue Records after The Funky Joint (2012) and Truth B Told (2014), Brown freely admits he is still trying to find himself as an artist. 

While keeping his trademark deep funk and cool urban vibes flowing, Brown taps deeper than ever before into his lifelong blues influences, which includes a foundational passion for greats like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Little Feat and B.B. King. This edge is immediately apparent on the album’s lead single, a bold and fiery re-imagining of The Crusaders’ soul-jazz classic “Put It Where You Want It,” which he describes as a “combination of Wes Montgomery and Larry Carlton,” the latter who played on the original recording of the tune. 

“Even after all these years,” he says, “I truly feel that I’m continuing to evolve as a guitarist, and I’m glad the way the genre is right now allows artists to follow the deeper passions of their musical hearts more than ever before. With each album, I feel like I’ve grown as a musician and artist, and I’m a far different player than I was when I recorded Up Front. When that came out, I had never performed a live show as a guitarist. You can practice an instrument in a room all you want, but until you play live, you don’t acquire a full level of skills. All of that gigging has helped me grow technically, and playing what I have imagined in my head is a lot easier than it used to be. The freedom and confidence I have gained from those translates to my personal development and allows me to bring fresh new ideas into the studio.”

While extending his long history of collaborations with the genre’s top saxophonists with “Sexy Thang” featuring Darren Rahn, One Way Back’s deeper musical core is a series of dynamic collaborations with top genre guitarists Chris Standring, Peter White, Marc Antoine and Chuck Loeb. While Brown’s electric is front and center as the lead melodic voice, he lets each of his peers bring his own sonic aesthetic to the mix as he “interprets inside of it.” Other highlights are the powerhouse, brass fired Memphis soul influenced “Well Alright” featuring vocalist (and former Hi Records songwriter Don Bryant) and the rich blues-drenched closer “Heaven” featuring vocals by Brown and simmering Rhodes and Hammond B-3 textures by his blues keyboardist friend with the same name known as “Brother Paul Brown.” 

The Los Angeles born and raised guitarist’s R&B driven sound has been a foundational element in urban jazz since the early 90s, when he produced saxophonist Boney James’ breakout debut Trust. He has since worked with many of the genre’s most influential artists, including Carlton, White, Euge Groove, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Golub, Al Jarreau and Jessy J. “Winelight,” the second single from Brown’s sophomore album The City, was ranked by Mediabase as the genre’s most spun track of that year. Radio & Records and Mediabase declared “The Rhythm Method,” the first single from Brown’s third release White Sand, the most played song of 2007. The title track from Jessy J’s Brown-produced debut Tequila Moon earned the same distinction for 2008.

http://www.paulbrownjazz.com/

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