Album: Just Chillin'

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Album:

Just Chillin'

Artist: Norman Brown
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Genres:
Label: Warner Bros / Wea

The opening track here is aptly titled “The Feeling I Get,” because there is a certain good vibe to Brown’s style and his melodies. Brown’s use of swinging horn sections and the way he pads his lines with reeds, blending in swirls of triplets with his Wes Montgomery/George Benson sound, can’t help but make real smooth-jazz lovers feel good and smile. The expert pen of the tasteful veteran arranger Jerry Hey on the opener (and the following title track) magnifies this unique sound. This album takes a left turn on the four vocal tracks. Chante Moore and Michael…

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The opening track here is aptly titled “The Feeling I Get,” because there is a certain good vibe to Brown’s style and his melodies. Brown’s use of swinging horn sections and the way he pads his lines with reeds, blending in swirls of triplets with his Wes Montgomery/George Benson sound, can’t help but make real smooth-jazz lovers feel good and smile. The expert pen of the tasteful veteran arranger Jerry Hey on the opener (and the following title track) magnifies this unique sound. This album takes a left turn on the four vocal tracks. Chante Moore and Michael McDonald totally dominate their turns, but the other two are real gems. Singers Debbie Nova and Miki Howard, respectively, on “Won’t You Stay” and “Not Like You Do,” mix in their neo-soul style perfectly as Brown sounds like himself, not just another guitarist playing behind a singer. Even then, the vocals get in the way of a fine guitar player. To really hear a great new Norman Brown record, program the CD player to skip the singing. Other standouts include the bouncy “Night Drive” (featuring Rick Braun) and Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait Awhile.” —Mark Ruffin

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