Gerald Albright & Norman Brown - 24/7 (2012)

Gerald Albright & Norman Brown
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Two different musicians, multiple mixes of genres and endless hours spent perfecting it all. After decades of camaraderie and professional overlap due to solo projects and collaborations with the heavy-hitters of pop, jazz and soul, Gerald Albright and Grammy winner Norman Brown have finally joined creative forces on 24/7, a synergistic and spirited collection that fuses Albright’s nimble sax notes, Brown’s heart-plucking guitar licks and generous doses of familial assist (explained further down in the review).

Two different musicians, multiple mixes of genres and endless hours spent perfecting it all. After decades of camaraderie and professional overlap due to solo projects and collaborations with the heavy-hitters of pop, jazz and soul, Gerald Albright and Grammy winner Norman Brown have finally joined creative forces on 24/7, a synergistic and spirited collection that fuses Albright’s nimble sax notes, Brown’s heart-plucking guitar licks and generous doses of familial assist (explained further down in the review).

Anchored by a ‘who’s who’ of instrumentalists (bassist Byron Miller, percussionist Ramon Ysalas, keyboardists Herman Jackson and Tracy Carter, to name a few) the Do-It-All Duo plunges energetically into classics and original tracks: “Tomorrow,” the 1970s Brothers Johnson tune reinvigorated by Tevin Campbell, retains its innocence and exuberance while expanding the melodic register. The competent rendering of Ne’Yo’s “Champagne Life” is one of two songs featuring Albright’s daughter Selina on vocals (she’s also heard in the soothing, yet sultry wisp of a title track). A tribute to one of Albright’s musical mentors is heard on the lively “Buenos Amigos,” fueled with Latin overtones and demonstrating how the legendary Willie Bobo expanded his expertise. And Brown composed the airy, yet energizing ode to positivity, “Yes, I Can,” a number all but guaranteed to reveal the silvery lining in a dark and gloomy day.

Other selections on 24/7showcase why the two performers are so well-matched to one another’s disciplines and well-received by audiences across the globe: “Keep It Moving,” a Herman Jackson original, is as animated as its title implies.  Brown gives his relatives studio time on “Perfect Love,” pairing up godson DeMille Cole-Heard and daughter Rochella in a skillfully sublime background blend that expounds on the early moments of falling in love. Albright’s “Power Of Your Smile” feels like gossamer to the ears, beckoning a lover to come near and turn on the charm, and Brown collaborates with yet another saxophonist, Jeanette Harris, for the earnest and upbeat “The Best Is Yet To Come.”

Since the players have known each other for so long and have a variety of skill sets, the brevity of the CD (just ten tracks) adds an ironic twist to its choice of title, but that doesn’t translate to the scope or the quality of the final product. With summer just beginning, expect fans of Mr. Albright and Mr. Brown to scoop it right on up and put it on ‘repeat’ for the first day, the first week…..and yes, well beyond. Heartily Recommended.

By Melody Charles

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO 24/7

 
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