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Jazz Producer Paul Brown Steps Out from Behind the Scenes in <i>Up Front</i> - 2004-01-28

For years, jazz producer Paul Brown has been making hit records for everyone from Al Jarreau and Rick Braun to Boney James and George Benson. In 1992, Paul Brown won a Grammy Award for his production on guitarist Norman Brown's album Just Chillin'. Paul Brown is also a first-rate guitarist, composer and arranger as we hear on his debut solo album, Up Front.

Having produced so many contemporary jazz artists, and having arranged and mixed so many best-sellers, it's no wonder Paul Brown is often called "The Babyface of Smooth Jazz," referring to the superstar R&B producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds.

At long last, after a never-ending string of production credits, Brown has emerged from behind the scenes and proven himself an accomplished musician behind the microphone.

Paul Brown was given complete control over the making of his debut album when he signed with GRP Records in 2003. For his band, Brown hired some of the top names from "smooth jazz", including session players and soloists he's worked with on previous recordings.

One of those special guests is trumpeter Rick Braun who accompanies Brown on 24/7.

Growing up in California, Paul Brown was an avid fan of pop, jazz and R&B. His musical influences included composers Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart, jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, and singer Van Morrison.

Yes, Paul Brown also sings, taking lead vocals on his rendition of Van Morrison's Moondance.

Brown composed seven original songs for his debut album, Up Front. Additional guest musicians include guitarists Peter White and Chuck Loeb, saxophonist Boney James, and vibraphonist Jeff Lorber. A great example of taking an old tune and making it new again is Brown's reggae-style version of the Bill Withers hit, Ain't No Sunshine.