Norman Brown – The Highest Act of Love

“I see life as a spiritual experience and life expressed through music adds a dynamic quality,” says Grammy winning guitarist, singer and producer Norman Brown. With an enviable career that has spanned close to three decades, the consummate hit-maker has masterfully created the soundtrack for many of our lives with his irresistible mélange of Jazz, R&B, Pop, Blues and beyond. Brown’s philosophy is simple when it comes to categorizing music. He explains, “There are only two types; good and bad.” JazzTimes Magazine touts that the guitarist is “a culmination of Jimi Hendrix and George Benson with some of Wes Montgomery thrown in,” while AllMusic raves that Brown is one of “contemporary jazz’s brightest lights…as master player and improviser.” Norman Brown’s charisma and versatility has afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with a cross-section of Jazz and R&B stars including Brian McKnight, Kirk Whalum, Miki Howard, Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Everette Harp and Chanté Moore, to name a few. On February 22, 2019, Shanachie Entertainment will release Brown’s eleventh recording as a leader, The Highest Act Of Love. The Atlanta based musicians’s most inspired CD yet, features special guest R&B legend Deniece Williams, as well as fellow guitarist Paul Brown. When it comes to personal aspirations, the multi-platinum selling guitarist shares, “This is my gift and offering to my fans and my bid is that the music will be impactful, joyous and entertaining, and bring a sense of peace and understanding.”

The Highest Act of Love features eleven soul-stirring and thought provoking tracks of mostly originals that celebrate the spiritual and personal journey within each of us. Norman explains that there is a theme that unites all of the tracks. “Everything I choose has content and elements that reveal a message of love,” states the guitarist. At the core of Brown’s work is his grounding in his faith and the principals of Maat, the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, harmony, morality and justice. These tenants of wisdom and knowledge inform Brown’s own life and music. With the release of Brown’s new CD he is fulfilling a mission as the title The Highest Act Of Love suggests. He explains the ancient Egyptian wisdom taught to him by his Sage, Ra Un Nefer Amen, the high Priest and Founder of the Ausar/Auset Society.

“My body is the vessel of God on earth. Fulfilling God’s need is the highest act of love,” notes Brown. “The process of loving God first, then yourself allows you to then love everyone else.” It is only fitting that the serenity and beauty of “Inside The Garden Of Peace and Love” open The Highest Act of Love.” The tender ballad unites Brown with fellow guitarist Paul Brown. “Paul started the magic,” shares Brown. “We composed this song together and our chemistry was firing on all cylinders and the groove was smooth.” The ebullient “The King Is Here” is a song that dates back to 2002 that Norman finally brings to life on The Highest Act Of Love. Brown’s original “Words Of Wisdom” reminds us all to listen to your intuition from inside as your guide and to be open to receiving messages as revelations for “divine wisdom” to resolve setbacks/conflicts/problems in order to bring peace and balance in your life.” The song takes on another special meaning for Norman as it features the vocals of a dear friend, Baby Lee. “She never had the opportunity to be featured on a major recording. Shortly after recording her feature performance, she became ill and passed away. Thankfully, her husband was able to play her the song while she was in the hospital. She passed away two days later.”

There is an undeniable aura of Zen and serenity that is embodied in Norman Brown’s music. It can partly be attributed to the fact that he adheres to the philosophy of Heru Kuhti, which means ‘divine justice.’ “It implies that you reap what you sow,” explains Norman.

“If you are consistent, you will be protected by this divine power.” Norman shares that intense work went into the making of his newest CD and in turn he was able to give birth to this inspired new CD. The Highest Act Of Love showcases Norman Brown’s tasty and buttery smooth riffs, flawless technique and keen compositional sensibilities. A perfect example is the buoyant number “Spirit Power,” which Brown explains evolved quickly.

“Sages appeared out of nowhere and guided me while I created this song,” confesses the guitarist. The album’s title track opens with the gorgeous and contemplative guitar of Norman that feels like we are listening in on a prayer. Brown shifts gears with the sultry and bluesy “Don’t Make Me Wait” and “My Window To Heaven,” is a joyous anthem that Norman Brown hopes “will uplift spirits.” A special highlight on The Highest Act Of Love is Brown’s anticipated collaboration with R&B legend Deniece Williams. The duo reworks Williams’ 1970s hit “Free” from her gold-certified This Is Niecy album. “’Free’ is a song that I recorded in 2002 as a demo,” recalls Brown. “When the universe aligned Deniece and I on a cruise, where we were both performing, I knew it was a sign which came in the form of a revelation that I was supposed to do this song and ask her to join me.” When I played it for her, she liked it and we decided to make it happen together.” Also highlighted on The Highest Act Of Love is the hypnotic and R&B inflected “My Window To Heaven,” which showcases Brown’s unrivaled agile grace, the delectable “Peace Of Mind” and the stunning and ethereal “Fountains Of Spiritual Water,” meant to remind us of the importance of self-care and nurturing. The CD closes with “Born With Both Eyes Open,” and Brown’s reminder to live your best life and to always follow the divine way.

When the iconic and pioneering guitarist George Benson sings your praises you know you are a bad man! Benson has heralded the consummate hit-maker, Norman Brown, as one of the greatest guitarists around today. Hailing from a musical family, Norman Brown was born in Shreveport, LA, and raised in Kansas City. Music was always playing in Brown’s house. His brother played guitar and as a youngster Brown would sneak into his room in order to get his hands on his brother’s acoustic six string. 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 on Mojazz in 1992 where he recorded the albums Just Between Us, the Gold selling After The Storm and Better Days.

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 for BWB’s debut recording Groovin’. They also recorded the CDs Human Nature (2013) and BWB (2016). Brown continued a trail of critically heralded albums including West Coast Coolin’ (2004), Stay With Me (2007), Sending My Love (2010) and 24/7 with saxophonist Gerald Albright. Brown has sold over one million albums and continues to delight his devoted fan base. 2017 saw the release of Norman Brown’s anticipated and well-received Shanachie debut, Let It Go. 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.

One might question what has kept Norman Brown on the path of inspiration all of these years. “I continue to be fascinated with learning and growing,” concludes the guitarist. “I love what I do. It’s my service to the world.”

Source: Shanachie Entertainment Group

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