Norman Brown is an artist that is a part of a group that I call The Smooth Jazz All Stars. If you listen to any of our Smooth Jazz mixes, you will find all of the artists that I consider to be a part of that exclusive group.
One of the qualifications to be a part of The Smooth Jazz All Stars that your music has to have an R&B base. Norman Brown’s material has always fit that bill.
All of his albums have an R&B base, and if you listen to some of his instrumental songs like After The Storm, Up ‘N’ At Em, and Come Closer to me, you can feel the soul in the music.
Brown can also do those remakes. Just check out After The Love is Gone, You Make Me Feel Brand New, Rain and Any Love. All of these tracks are a worthy alternative to the original.
By the way, he is also a fine vocalist. Never Again is actually one of my favorite songs from the veteran guitarist.
When you learn that Norman Brown is coming out with a new album, you definitely want to learn more.
The Highest Act Of Love is the 2019 release, and it will drop on February 22nd. The set will have those smooth grooves, R&B tracks, and sensual slow jams that you have grown accustomed to.
Brown also brought some of his friends along for the ride, including Paul Brown, Kim Waters, and Deniece Williams.
Let’s check out the songs individually and see what the artist has to offer this time around.
Review – “The Highest Act Of Love” by Norman Brown
The set begins with Inside the Garden Of Peace And Love. This track is a Paul Brown production, and if you are familiar with his productions, then you will recognize that signature sound. Paul Brown’s guitar style has a hint of the Blues to it, and it plays really well off of Norman’s guitar sound. In addition to the guitars, I am loving the keys on the track.
The King Is Here is up next. This is a Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis Production, and this groove reminds me of some of Norman’s older stuff, such as the After The Storm or the Celebration albums. The synthesizers add a nice touch behind Norman’s guitars. The beat is also front and center, and this is the type of track that we like to feature in our Smooth Jazz In The Mix Series.
In Words Of Wisdom, Brown breaks the groove all the way down. The vocals are provided by Baby Lee who, unfortunately is not with us anymore. This was her first major recording, and I am so glad that we were able to hear this songstress in action.
Spirit Power is up next. The bassline will immediately grab you, then Brown will take over with those tight guitar licks. The background vocals are a nice touch, as they will allow you to sing along. This is one of those tracks that will put a smile on your face as soon as you hear that intro.
Next is a song that is broken down into two separate parts. In The Highest Act Of Love, Brown starts out by giving us about 90 seconds of stripped down guitar goodness. During the intro, I had the visual of Brown, sitting on a street corner, just strumming that guitar.
Then the rest of the instruments kick in.
This is a track that you will want to play a few times, so you can really get into the song.
Don’t Make Me Wait is an apt title for the next track. The intro features Brown as he gives you a little taste of those guitar licks. It is almost like a tease, as your anticipation grows as you finally get to the “meat” of the song. The rest of the song does not disappoint, either. It has a funky beat, stellar keyboard hits, and strings that takes the track to the next level.
Are you ready for an updated classic? Brown enlists the vocal stylings of the legendary Deniece Williams. They get together for her classic song, Free. Man, that guitar sounds so good here. It is a sort of duet, where Williams takes the first verse, then Brown does his thing on the second. Williams comes back with the bridge and it is all gravy from there. Now THIS is how a remake should be done!
My Window To Heaven is next. This is a slow to mid-tempo groove that will give you those feel good vibes. The slow, funky bassline leads the groove and Brown rides that groove all the way to the end. This is one of the best songs on the album.
In Peace Of Mind, Brown teams up with Kim Waters to create something magical. In case you didn’t know, Waters is a multi-instrumentalist. He plays all of the instruments on the track…..Except for the guitar.
Fountains Of Spiritual Water is up next. You immediately set the sense that you are in front of a fountain, as you hear the sounds of a waterfall. That literally brings you into the song, then the guitar play keeps you there. This song is a good candidate for a remix, as this could easily re-emerge as a funky house track.
The set concludes with Born With Both Eyes Open. This is another classic Norman Brown track. The shakers really stand out, and they allow you to listen to all of the other drum and percussion parts in the song. You really get an appreciation of the great instrumentation here.
Norman Brown hits it out off the park with his signature grooves. Like I mentioned earlier, Brown takes us back to the mid 1990’s and early 2000’s sound. I am definitely not mad at that!
There are several songs here that I am sure you will add to your playlist.