I just want to go back to the year 1994 for a minute. My musical tastes had broadened, and I was looking for different sounds and styles to quench my musical thirst. There were two artists in particular that did this for me. One, was the Brand New Heavies. They had a UK Funk thing going on, and I had to grab everything that they did up to that point.
The other was Norman Brown. I heard his version of That’s The Way Love Goes on the radio, and I just loved the flow of the song. Soon thereafter, I picked up the album, After The Storm, and I was immediately into every track. I mean, it had everything you could want. Smooth grooves like Take Me There, an uptempo jam such as Lydian, remakes like the superb Any Love, and by the way, a slow jam with vocals such as It Costs To Love. For me, those aren’t even the best tracks on the album. Let’s Come Together is THE track.
There are a lot of great artists in Smooth Jazz, but Mr. Brown is my favorite.
Finally, after five years, Norman Brown has released a new solo album. It is called Let It Go, and it releases on April 14th.
Does it have the successful formula that we have come to expect from a Norman Brown album? Let’s see.
Norman Brown Let It Go Album Review
The album opens with a short intro, called Lessons Of The Spirit. For me, it just eases you into the journey to which you will embark.
As we move into It Keeps Coming Back, we hear the familiar guitar riffs that have made Brown a fan favorite. Be sure to listen for the keyboard parts. They are subtle, but they definitely are important to the vibe of the song.
Let It Go, the title track is up next, and while it is a smoothed out track, the beginning is almost like a long interlude. About two minutes in, that guitar pace picks up a little. For me, this is his signature. The uptempo guitar playing over slower grooves. If anyone does that better, I cannot name them.
If you want a rework of a classic, Ooh Child is here for you. Joining Brown on vocals is TrayCar, and if you need a new song to get some inspiration to start your day, this is a good candidate. By the way, I like the new background vocal arrangement about halfway through. TrayCar also appears in several other tracks on the album.
In Conversations, Brown is joined by the group S.O.U.L. Members of the group just happen to be his daughters. There is a great male/female dynamic on the background vocals. The uptempo track on the album is up next with Living Out Your Destiny. S.O.U.L. is featured once again, and there’s nothing wrong with a little funk, halfway through the album.
Do you need a duet? Well, Chante Moore lends her talents to the track. If you are familiar with my website, you know I am always talking about the absence of real R&B slow jams. Holding You definitely fills that void.
We pick up the pace once again with The North Star. Saxman Marion Meadows is featured, and they play off of each other quite nicely. This is one of those tracks that I would love to hear “live.”
Brown will always give us a vocal track to showcase those George Benson influences. Very Woman is that track. It has that slow, funk vibe that we love so much.
On Liberated, the band is back together. When I say band, I mean BWB. Rick Braun and Kirk Whalum join the project. This track is one of the highlights of the album. What can I say, the musicianship is tight, and also the vocals leave you wanting more than just the hook. About halfway through they break it down with a Latin groove…but they bring it back to the original feeling. Well played!
Remember Who You Are is up next, and Kirk Whalum is also featured here. The track is more of a Nu Jazz style, but the guitar works nicely over that type of groove. This is definitely a cocktail party song.
We conclude with a classic written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett. Man In The Mirror is one of those songs that will give you inspiration, and this version is no different. It features the Sounds of Blackness. If you are not going to have a Church Choir on your record, I would say the Sounds of Blackness will definitely work! This is the perfect track to close out the album, and Brown’s guitar ad libs are on full display.
Remember…..Make that change!
If you are a Norman Brown fan, this collection will not disappoint. If you are not a fan….well….Go listen to After The Storm, or any of his other albums. You will see the light!
Order Norman Brown Let It Go