VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
13 AUG 12 JONATHAN WIDRAN
As with George Benson and Al Jarreau's 2006 Grammy double Grammy-winning dual album Givin' It Up, Gerald Albright and Norman Brown's good fortune to be signed to Concord Family labels at the same time led to the opportunity to record 24/7 -- which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.
While the impetus for this dynamic showcase of two of contemporary jazz's most popular instrumentalists came from the suggestion of Mark Wexler, Senior VP and Label Manager for Concord's Jazz and Classics Group, it's actually the culmination of a 25 year friendship between Albright, a five time Grammy-nominated saxophonist, and Brown, who won a Best Pop Instrumental Album Grammy for his 2002 set Just Chillin'.
The two first met in the late-'80s as rotating members of the smooth jazz collective Jaspar, which played weekend shows at a small venue in Redlands, California. Because Albright lives in Denver and Brown lived in Los Angeles during the time of the writing and recording of 24/7, the two divided the composing work and used digital technology and a round-the-clock volley of emailed files between their home studios to make it happen.
There's still a great deal of spontaneity on the recording -- which was reflected in the selections from the album they played on the road recently under the name Summer Jam. Beyond in the pocket delights like "In The Moment" and "Keep It Moving," and tracks that showcase the vocals of their daughters Selina (Albright) and Rochella, highlights include Albright's Willie Bobo inspired Latin sizzler "Buenos Amigos" and well rendered covers of The Brothers Johnson's "Tomorrow" and Ne-Yo's "Champagne Life."