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Norman Brown Jazz Guitar Video

For those of you interested in smooth jazz guitar, at the end of this post is a YouTube video of Norman Brown playing live at the 2007 All Star Smooth Jazz Cruise. I’ve seen Norman play live many times and he’s an amazing performer. His style is similar to George Benson but with less of the bebop tradition and more of the R & B flavor. In fact, he’s probably responsible for me learning jazz guitar in the first place. It was only after hearing him pull off licks like in the following audio clip that got me excited about the instrument and other jazz guitarists like George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, etc…

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Many jazz musicians get stuck on this elitist “smooth jazz sucks” sort of trip. I think I fell into that for a while but then I realized that there are many smooth jazz musicians (Norman Brown, for example) who are just as masterful on their instruments as other jazz musicians. It’s just that they have a passion for more modern sounds, technology, and rhythms. I digress…

Anyway, as far as the All Star Smooth Jazz Cruise goes, the next one is January 2008. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be there. Apparently they have a jam session where you can bring your instruments and jam with all of these top musicians. Where else can you meet and jam with all of these musicians in one place?

Check out the video and let me know what you think!


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  1. ajibade peter | May 30, 2014 | Reply

    Good to Join u

  2. DeeCee | May 4, 2013 | Reply

    I think Norman can play whatever style he wants, but this is a genre that requires a decent amount of chops and is lucrative at well. If more traditional songs and standards were the rage today, I guarantee you Norman would be kicking it in that genre too. I enjoy anyone that combines skill and passion for their art. I don’t know him, but I find it odd that someone would praise the creator and speak eloquently about love would diss a fan.

  3. Magic | Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    Mr. B, you sound like a frustrated guitarist who could never make it and now considered yourself to be a professional critic. I have met Norman Brown several times and he was always cordial to me. He asked if I like the show, very nice guy.

  4. von boson | Jan 6, 2012 | Reply

    He just has such great musical taste period. His phrasing is impeccable,and his rhythmic accuracy is on a level of Jaco’s.

    For me he’s just a pure joy to listen to, very polished

  5. B.B.Blackwell | Dec 4, 2011 | Reply

    in reguards to mr.B. the only ego i hear is yours I guess you probably sell out at your shows, since you are so much better than norman brown. let me know when you realease your next CD.

  6. Mr. B | Mar 30, 2011 | Reply

    I’m sorry, I guess he’s good at what he does and that’s playing licks over very simple or no chord changes. It’s very easy to play fast over simple changes over and over again over years. For those that are not looking beyond the “smooth jazz” sound that’s OK. But if you are looking for something more intellectual in the playing like playing over Giant Steps, Autumn in New York, changes and songs that require a bit more thought and exploration, Norman chooses not to do it or he can’t. I find that interesting because most jazz musicians that have the chops at some point will showcase that side of themselves just a little to show the audience they can do it. And NO, he’s not anything musically close to great players like George Benson. He grabbed a few of George’s easier licks and then made a name for himself. But this music has its place, it just doesn’t stimulate me like other modern black jazz guitarists such as Russell Malone, Rodney Jones, Bobby Broom, Mark Whitfield, and several others that can play like this but also play the “real stuff”.

    Norman also has an ego problem. My wife really liked his playing as well as Jonathan Butler and a few other contemporary players when I met her back in ’96. I’m a guitarist too and told her that he’s good at what he does but it really depends on what you are trying to get out of the music. This was before I exposed her to the hundreds of great jazz masters out there from Charlie Christian to present day Pat Martino, Mark Elf, and countless others. Anyhow, we went to one of his concerts in Norfolk, Virginia in ’97 I believe. I was there to have a good time like she was and not criticize because whatever it is that you are playing, having fun and pleasing your fans is what it’s all about. At the end of the show my wife wanted his autograph on his latest CD at the time. One of the security guards at the venue told us where Norman would be shortly and should be able to get his autograph. A couple of minutes later there he was. My wife approached him and complemented him on the show and asked for his autograph. He looked at her with this sort of grin and walked off without saying a word or signing the CD. I told her that that guy was a jerk. I’ve never seen a jazz musician do that before, they are usually pretty humbled by fans and supporters. She never purchased another one of his CD’s again. No love loss for me, I was not one of his fans anyway. On the other hand we went to a Jonathan Butler concert a couple of months ago, my wife had a good time and was able to speak with Jonathan, get his autograph, and take a picture with him, a wonderful and humble human being.

    Overall, my wife enjoys my playing the most. I’m a much better player than Norman is or cares to share. But that’s not saying much as players like me and countless truly gifted players are a dime a dozen these days. Your success really depends on luck, how you are marketed, and what the general public is conditioned to listen to.

  7. Michael | Aug 17, 2010 | Reply

    Just took a look at that video and it was like I was there the night of the concert. That man can play that danm gutiar.

    Well, done Norman and I hope that I will get to see you in concert one day when you are in the Hartford, Ct area.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. richard20 | Jun 30, 2008 | Reply

    i,m very happy,withyour learn people to play guitar well

  9. max | May 21, 2008 | Reply

    a great guitarist, yet the music is a bit too commercial for me. that’s a matter of personal taste however.. this is just how smooth jazz sounds.

    your site is great. i liked the article on 3 types of improvisation, i totally agree with you.

  10. Ana | May 8, 2008 | Reply

    Pure genius!I absolutely love his music, his style, and i have to admit he’s got such a charisma.My iPod is filled full of his songs.And just like most of you, i’d love to be able to play the guitar half as good as him.Thanks God for his talent!

    All my best,

  11. jai | Jan 22, 2008 | Reply

    Norman Brown,,, what can i say about the man, he’s sheer genious!! I have travel out of town to catch his performances because he’s simply that good. Before, I was into jazz from a saxophone perspective (such as Boney James, Kirk Whalum) but once i heard Norman on internet radio, his music was like a kalidascope of colors! I knew that day i would purchase his West Coolin album. Since then, I have collected his previous albums AND his most recent and let me tell you, the man never fails to please… keep it up Norm!!

  12. Stanley | Jan 8, 2008 | Reply

    Woow!! This is what i usually say when i hear him play. I actually lack words to describe what him and his guitar are doing to me. In the entire jazz guitar community, he is the one that makes me stand up and grab that guitar and begin to simulate. I wonder what’s in his fingers “hence his quickly played notes that beautifully blends in the backrownd sound collectively creating a melody that is too perfect for my ears”. Through listenin’ to his music, i have aquired a lot. The 1st time i listened to “after the storm” (his 2nd album), i wondered, then later it was “better days ahead”, therefore i concluded that i am going to learn how to play a jazz guitar, particularly like him. This is my 6th year of learning the instrument and am quite happy with my progress. He’s so amazing and completely playing stuff out of this world. REGUARDS!

  13. seyibabs | Oct 30, 2007 | Reply

    Norman Brown is simply amazing, he has great and thrilling grooves which he plays at the right places and time. He is a great jazz artiste for the future. He is also one of my mentors, as i aspire to play like him.

  14. Angelia | Aug 28, 2007 | Reply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE [him]!!! I have been a fan of [his] since the beginning. I am a huge fan of guitar players/singers, and [he] easily roll right in there with the likes of George Benson and Jonathan Butler. My 11 and 8 year old daughters enjoy [his] music as well, especially since two of [his] songs are played on the local R&B radio station. I have seen [him] several times in concert and have great respect for [him] as an artist, as well, as an entertainer. [His] performance was exciting. Can’t wait to see [him] in Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Trying to get on the 2008 cruise as well.

  15. Bahati | Aug 21, 2007 | Reply

    I have been a fan of his since his first album. However, when I saw him in concert, I came to realize he is an amazing entertainer as well as a great jazz guitarist. Because of him, I have traveled out of my comfort zone (from DC to Ca and St. Lucia) just to attend his concerts.
    That is a very good clip of his performance. Thank you for sharing!
    I definitely will look into the cruise for 2008.

    Best regards,

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