Guitarist Paul Brown is a Grammy Award-winning "smooth jazz" producer. But lately, he's been making a name for himself as a solo recording artist. As VOA's Doug Levine tells us, Brown gets a little help from some famous friends on his latest album, White Sand.
The advantage of having produced so many albums for so many artists is being able to call upon their services for your own record. Paul Brown made one call to saxophonist Euge Groove who was more than happy to collaborate with him on "More Or Les Paul."
Paul says he decided to scale back his producing duties, and further his own recording career after putting the finishing touches on "24/7" from his debut album Upfront. "When I got done recording it, I listened back and said, 'Man, that sounds like a finished record right there.' And I had never really had that kind of response to my own playing before that song," he says.
Paul Brown's "24/7" opened the door for more recording opportunities. Like collaborating with singer Al Jarreau on "Makes Me Feel So Good" from Paul's new album. "He originally didn't like the lyrics to the song, so he said, 'I really want to do it but I want to change some of these lyrics.' So we got into the studio one night and I said, 'Look, let's just figure out which of these lyrics you're uncomfortable with and we'll change those. So we did. We kind of wrote the song, and he did his vocal at the same time. But, just to hear him singing and my guitar playing is such a treat for me," he says.
The list of guest singers and musicians on White Sand reads like a who's-who of smooth jazz: Al Jarreau, Boney James, Rick Braun, David Benoit, and newcomers Lina and Jessy J.
Paul says his guest list was complete when Bobby Caldwell agreed to sing an old favorite. "Bobby used to do the song 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy' in his set, and I just always just thought it was fantastic. So I wanted to record that song, so he was the perfect guy for that. He was really into doing , and the first thing out of his mouth was, 'My baby she's so fine' from 'Mercy Mercy Mercy.' He just sounded unreal. He just nailed it at 8:30 in the morning," he says.
In support of White Sand, Paul Brown will perform at jazz festivals in Wisconsin and California, with some shows featuring special guest Euge Groove.