The album is set to drop September 18 as the latest single, “Daylight,” brightens playlists
Torrential rain poured on the dark and dismal day that Southern Californians were ordered to shelter in place last March due to the coronavirus. Despite the unsettling time, Billboard chart-topping contemporary jazz guitarist Blake Aaron sat down to write a song to communicate hope. Using a tropical soca rhythm and infused with bright energy and joy, “Daylight” is Aaron’s newest single moving up the Billboard chart from the forthcoming “Color and Passion,” his sixth album that drops September 18 on Innervision Records.
‘Daylight’ was written on and inspired by the day the coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic. It’s a song completely opposite of that rainy, dreary day written with the hope that we would soon see ‘daylight.’The coronavirus has brought more pain to more people for much longer than we possibly could have imagined. ‘Daylight’ represents my musical hope and celebration of a new day for all of us,”said Aaron, who produced eight tracks, wrote seven songs and co-wrote three tunes for “Color and Passion.”
“Color and Passion” is Aaron’s first collection since 2015’s “Soul Stories,” and like that outing, half of the new album is made up of hit singles that were released over the last few years along with some newly completed cuts, many of which bode to be issued as singles. Two singles from “Color and Passion,” the melodically rich “Fall For You” and “Groovers and Shakers,” a duet written and produced with hitmaking saxophonist Darren Rahn, went No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Invigorating and illumined by a horn section, “Vivid” climbed into Billboard’s top 10 as did “Drive,” another propulsive collaboration with Rahn that was the No. 1 song of 2019 on the Radiowave chart.
In addition to featuring Rahn, Aaron spotlights several more Billboard chart-toppers on “Color and Passion.” He wrote the exhilarating “Sunday Strut” with guitarist Adam Hawley, a song graced by urban-jazz icon Najee on tenor and soprano saxophones. The album closes with a Latin percussive treatment of Stevie Wonder’s anthemic classic “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” that includes Kim Scott’s impassioned flute engaging in a dalliance with Aaron’s fiery electric guitar.
Virtually every song on “Color and Passion” sounds like a single because of Aaron’s innate ability to write ensnaring hooks that he animates with dexterous and technically-astute guitarwork along with an assortment of first-call musicians, the likes of which include bassists Darryl Williams, Hussain Jiffry and Mel Brown; drummers Tony Moore and Eric Valentine; keyboardists-pianists Rob Mullins, Tateng Katindig and Mike Whittaker; horn players and arrangers David Mann, Lee Thornburg and Scott Martin; and strings arranger Craig Sharmat.
“I’ve never been a believer in throwaway album cuts, so I write every song on my CDs with the hopes of it having a good shot at being a radio single. I’ve been lucky because I’ve had quite a few radio singles from both ‘Soul Stories’ and ‘Color and Passion.’ My radio promoter jokes that my albums are like greatest hits CDs even before they’re released.”
Aaron’s catalogue has consistently explored a wide range of musical styles – jazz, R&B, pop, Latin, Caribbean, funk, fusion and rock - and writing and recording over an extended period of time perhaps enhances the diversity heard on “Color and Passion.”
“‘Color and Passion’ refers to the way I see the wonderful and beautiful vast array of different styles and moods of music as colors, how those colors represent different paths, twists and turns on the journey through life, and the passion I have always had for and expressed through my music that hopefully shines through in my playing style, especially on songs like the title track,” said Aaron, who then got introspective.
“Having such a love for so many diverse musical styles and experiences has been mostly a blessing, but also slightly a curse. It’s been a blessing because I have never been bored and have been on this amazing journey both musically and personally that continues to unfold with new and exciting adventures. It has slightly been a curse because I may have gotten to where I was going with my music and my personal life a little faster without so many twists, turns and detours in the road.”
Releasing a new album during this uncertain time is not easy. All of Aaron’s supporting concert dates have been canceled or postponed for the time being. But he remains an eternal optimist and purposely closed “Color and Passion” offering a note of optimism.
“I must admit the one good thing for me that came out this terrible coronavirus situation was it allowed me to focus and finally finish ‘Color and Passion.’ I ended the album with Stevie Wonder’s uplifting and joyful ‘Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing’ because that is the last feeling and encouraging impression I want listeners to take with them. I hope this album provides a musical glimmer of hope and belief that we will get through this together.”
“Color and Passion” contains the following songs:
“Fall For You”
“Groovers and Shakers” featuring Darren Rahn
“Sunday Strut” featuring Najee
“Color and Passion”
“Weekend in Paradise”
“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” featuring Kim Scott
GRAMMY WINNING GUITARIST NORMAN BROWN OFFERS A HEART TO HEART EVOKING PRINCIPLES OF UNITY ON NEW RECORDING OUT AUGUST 7, 2020 “I wrote and recorded Heart To Heart as a message to my fellow Beings to remember that the essential quality of our nature was made divine, as one race, governed by one world. We must abandon the perception that we are made to exist independently, therefore, not unified, divided by selfishness, creating greed to fulfill our quest for survival,” explains the multi-platinum selling, chart-topping and Grammy award-winning guitarist Norman Brown. Norman whose love affair with the guitar began at age eight was dubbed by George Benson as “one of the greatest and most articulate guitarists out there.” Brown’s charisma and versatility has afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with a cross-section of Jazz and R&B stars including George Benson, Brian McKnight, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Lorber, Miki Howard, Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Peabo Bryson, and Chanté Moore, to name a few. At a time where there is so much divisiveness, Norman Brown asks each of us to search within to recognize our own divine light and to receive the divine wisdom that surrounds us every day. “All of us are made from the same source making us interconnected, interrelated and therefore interdependent,” shares the Atlanta based musician. “We have to exchange love, Heart To Heart in order to achieve world salvation and loving peace on earth.” At the core of Brown’s work based on the principles of universal law, wisdom from the Ancient Egyptian Spiritual System “The Paut Neteru Of Anu,” The Tree of Life which focuses on peace, truth, balance, order, harmony, morality and justice. Brown’s spiritual way of being is undoubtedly an attribute that has endeared him to an ever-growing and devoted fan-base. He affectionately calls his fans Normantics!
On August 7, 2020, Shanachie Entertainment will release Heart To Heart, Norman Brown’s 12th recording as a leader and third for the label. Shanachie Entertainment VP of Jazz A&R, Danny Weiss, states, “At the risk of being blasphemous, Norman is the true successor to Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Like them, he’s a jazz musician of the highest order, but you hardly notice because you’re having so much fun listening to him.” Heart To Heart is a gorgeous collection of originals composed by Brown and various album personnel, that fuse the best elements of Jazz, R&B, Pop, Blues and beyond. It is a soul-stirring and heart-warming journey fitting for this time of uncertainly. The introspective guitarist says, “We have been given the golden opportunity of having the Earth stop. We all have wanted to stop the grind and catch our breath, refresh our thoughts and learn something new. This halting of everything is really the silver lining and an opportunity to find our ‘Master Key’ to the rich quality this life blesses us to experience.”
Heart to Heart is an all-star affair that affirms the adoration and respect that Norman Brown holds amongst his peers. Great bandleaders are like chemists. They go into the laboratory and utilize all the right elements in order achieve the desired outcome. It is knowledge and cooperation working in the highest order. With this dynamic in mind, Brown assembled an enviable collective of creative spirits to bring to life Heart To Heart. Brown’s special formula follows the golden rule. “What I do to you, I in turn do to myself,” explains Norman. “Let’s take care of each other through the acknowledgement that we must treat one another in joyful peace and with acts of giving unconditional love.” Heart To Heart joins Brown with guitarists Peter White and Paul Brown, keyboardists Jeff Lorber, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Gregg Karukus, Phil Davis, Lew Laing and Jeff Carruthers, bassist Roberto Vally, Tres Gilbert, Lee Thornberg, Sean Michael Ray and Nate Kearny, drummers Lil’ John Roberts, Gary Novak, Sonny Emory and Teddy Campbell, saxophonists David Mann and Greg Vail and percussionist Lenny Castro. Brown shares that each individual played a significant role in bringing the album to fruition. “It was an honor and pleasure to be joined by all of these divine beings who nourished the music and brought the perfect seasoning to this album.”
My Dad loved Wes (Montgomery) and inspired me to learn that style by allowing me to have the car on Saturday night if I learned his favorite Wes tunes like ‘Bumping On Sunset’ and ‘Down Here On The Ground.’ Frankly I would have learned them based on my own love of his playing. His technique, beautiful chord soloing and his signature octave expression was wonderfully original and innovative.” – Norman Brown
Heart to Heart opens with the recording’s first single “Heading Wes,” a tribute to Brown’s father as well as the iconic guitar hero Wes Montgomery, who transformed the language of guitar harmonically, melodically and technically. “My Dad loved Wes and inspired me to learn that style by allowing me to have the car on Saturday night if I learned his favorite Wes tunes like ‘Bumping On Sunset’ and ‘Down Here On The Ground,’ recalls Norman. “Frankly I would have learned them based on my own love of his playing. His technique, beautiful chord soloing and his signature octave expression was wonderfully original and innovative.” The intoxicating sway and melodic beauty of the album’s title track features fellow guitarist Peter White, who Brown refers to as “a joyously gentle journeyman.” Brown shifts gears for the euphoric up-tempo and smoking “Unconditional,” highlighting and penned by keyboardist Jeff Lorber whose energetic creativity Brown says is “perpetually gifting us timeless ideas.” Another standout on the album is the moving and devotional gem “Amen” co-written with hit making producers Vassel Bedford and Chris “Big Dog” Davis (who is featured on keys). Norman by the way returns the favor and appears on Davis’ new Shanachie release Focus.
Heart To Heart showcases the genius and flair that has landed Norman Brown at the top of the charts time and time again on the finger snapping “Just Groovin.” Norman wrote the song with fellow guitarists Paul Brown and Jeff Caruthers, who both join him on the composition. The beautiful “Brighter My Light Shines,” co-written with keyboardist Phil Davis, is the perfect example of the timeless anthems Brown is known for. He wrote the latter with keyboardist Phil Davis who is also showcased on the memorable tune. The radiant grace and sweetness of this song kisses you every note. David Mann offers a gritty horn arrangement to the funky “She’s Mine” which shines a spotlight on Brown’s agile blues chops and sharp-witted hooks. Brown’s crisp articulation and funk-laced lines take center stage on “I Miss Your Groove,” offering another view of the blues that will have you saying “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!” Norman conjures up a dipping bronze sun, disappearing behind a crimson sunset while the salted air gently caress your cheeks on “Ocean Breeze,” co written by Jeff Lorber. The guitarist also urges us to “Keep The Faith” with the forward momentum groove of his stunning original. “Faith is the substance of things not yet seen but the evidence of things to come. Part of this energy aids in the law of attraction,” declares the guitarist. A reward to taking the journey on Heart To Heart is the surprise ethereal and rock-tinged track “Outside The Norm,” featuring the keys of Phil Davis and drums of Lil’ John Roberts. But then again, not a surprise from a man who can play it all!
Watching his older brother play, Norman was stopped by the energy radiating from the musical sound of what he now calls his “Spirit Catcher,” the stings on his guitar. Waiting for his brother “Popsicle” to leave, Norman couldn’t wait to get his hands on his brother’s six string carefully stored in the closet. Influenced early on by Jimi Hendrix and the Isley Brothers, it was not long before Brown was drawn in by one of his father’s favorite guitarists, Wes Montgomery. A graduate of the Musician’s Institute in North Hollywood, where Brown would go on to teach, the guitarist landed his first deal, as the flagship artist debuting his career and launching Motown’s Mojazz label. In 1992, he recorded the albums Just Between Us, the Gold selling, Soul Train award winning After The Storm and Better Days Ahead. Having recorded a string of successful albums including 1999’s Celebration (in which he teamed up with Paul Brown), 2002’s Just Chillin’ (featuring vocalists Michael McDonald, Miki Howard and Chanté Moore) scored a Grammy win. The same year, Brown joined forces with saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun forming the group BWB, recording their debut album Groovin’. In 2013 they released Human Nature, a tribute album to Michael Jackson, that was followed by their third collaboration BWB in 2016. Brown continued a trail of critically heralded albums including West Coast Coolin’ (2004), Stay With Me (2007), Sending My Love (2010) and Grammy nominated 24/7 with saxophonist Gerald Albright. 2017 saw the release of Norman Brown’s anticipated and well-received Shanachie debut, Let It Go and The Highest Act Of Love followed in 2019.
Brown concludes, “Heart To Heart is the greatest power we can harness. This dialogue empowers each person in the entire world to win! It’s all about the power generated from learning the lessons of spiritual growth that helps us to achieve the goal of evolution which is the enjoyment of life.” Brown’s new recording is vital listening for our current times. Its message rings loud and clear and is a reminder that even though we may be “socially distance” we are indeed together and need one another now more than ever.
JazzCorner is very pleased to begin our new relationship with The Carr Center starting with streaming LIVE Terri Lyne Carrington and Danilo Pérez in performance on our Facebook page on Saturday August 8 starting at 8PM ET.
Fresh off her 2020 Downbeat Critics Poll triple win as Jazz Artist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year and Jazz Group of the Year, The Carr Center's Artistic Director Terri Lyne Carrington performs with the GRAMMY® Award winning and Smithsonian Legacy Artist, jazz pianist, Danilo Perez in a very special musical collaboration which includes original compositions and arrangements by both artists. Among the music they'll be performing will be; "Beloved (for Toni Morrison),” "Alternate Reality," a Pérez composition written in honor of Dr. Angela Davis, and the performance debut of a composition written by Terri Lyne Carrington celebrating Charlie Parker’s centennial entitled, "Elk Dreams."
Co-presented by the Chamber Music Society of Detroit and DPTV/Detroit Performs. While this concert is FREE and can be viewed worldwide, we ask if you can please register here
For Immediate Release –“Sir Charles,” the new single from famed keyboardist David Garfield’s upcomingStretchin’ Outside The Boxalbum follows several contemporary jazz hits such as “Sweetness,” “Go Home,” “Jamming” and “One Like You,” all of which dominated the radio waves as well as the charts. The world-class keyboardist, producer and composer has teamed up with one of his favorite guitarists and long-time friend, Grant Geissman, best known for his dynamic performance on the classic hit “Feels So Good” to perform this new original song. The track also includes a guest performance by saxophonist Brandon Fields (original founding member of The Rippingtons).
“Sir Charles” is a sweet summer song with a tropical island vibe, perfect for sunny day hangs by the pool sipping frozen fruit-infused beverages. A definite party hit for this summer. Garfield, who leads the band on piano and keyboards, also produced and arranged the track.
“‘Sir Charles’ is a song inspired by my dear friend Vince Charles’ (Neil Diamond/Herb Alpert) steel pan drumming,” Garfield says. “He was a key mentor of mine and turned me on to all the great tropical music styles.”
Garfield began his five-decade career in straight-ahead jazz as a teenager playing behind bebop trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Since then many of the greatest artists of our time, including members of the Zac Brown Band, Steely Dan, Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, The Doors, Chicago, Toto, Tower of Power and The Meters, have been featured on his albums.
Garfield has scored and recorded for films (“Annie,” “Always” with J.D. Souther), television (“Fame” and its five accompanying “Kids from Fame” recordings), and commercials (Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Seven Up, Mitsubishi). He’s produced over 50 albums and worked with such icons as Cher, Boz Scaggs, Larry Carlton, Spinal Tap, The Manhattan Transfer, Keiko Matsui, The Rippingtons and Smokey Robinson; performed with Earl Klugh, Michael McDonald, Nancy Wilson, Oleta Adams, Brenda Russell, Dianne Reeves and Michael Bolton; was musical director for George Benson (from 1986-90, 2000-2004), as well as writing, arranging and producing for him (2007-2018); appeared on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Soul Train; and has composed and recorded hundreds of original compositions.
One of world’s most accomplished keyboard players, David Garfield’s mission statement is “I make music.” Whether working with other artists or performing or recording with one of his own bands, Garfield (known to some as “Creatchy”) is constantly and consistently involved in creating music for the listening enjoyment and pleasure of music lovers everywhere.
“Sir Charles” is available on iTunes, Amazon and all digital sales and streaming sites.