Joy emanates from Grammy Award-winning contemporary jazz guitarist Norman Brown when he is playing. The guitar is simply an extension of him. The multi-platinum selling and chart-topping musician will take the stage on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023 at the 12th John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival.
With all of the accolades that Norman Brown has amassed the past three decades, including Grammy and Soul Train Music Awards, he has stayed the course for one reason. “Knowing that I’ve been commissioned by the Most High to channel a message of inspiration and motivation, brings me happiness,” he states. The Atlanta-based musician’s love affair with the guitar began at age eight. Watching his older brother play, Norman was drawn to the energy radiating from what he now calls his “Spirit Catcher,” the strings on the guitar. Waiting for his brother Roy Brown Jr., “Popsicle” to leave, Norman couldn’t wait to get his hands on his six string carefully stored in the closet. Luckily for us, Brown’s love affair with the guitar is still going strong. His technical wizardry, genre-bending facility, soulful finesse, and charisma, have made him one of the most sought-after internationally renowned musicians in Contemporary Jazz.
Born in Shreveport, LA, and raised in Kansas City, KS Norman Brown has enjoyed a career longevity that is rare in this business.A graduate of the Musician’s Institute in North Hollywood, Norman Brown would go on to teach at the school until he landed his first deal, as the flagship artist on Motown’s Mojazz label.
In 1992, Brown recorded the albums Just Between Us, the Gold selling and Soul Train award-winning After The Storm and Better Days Ahead. Having recorded a string of successful albums including 1999’s Celebration for which he teamed with Paul Brown. 2002’s Just Chillin’ scored the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. The same year, Brown joined forces with saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun forming the group BWB. The trio recorded their debut album Groovin’. In 2013 they released Human Nature, a tribute album to Michael Jackson, which was followed by their third collaboration BWB in 2016. Brown continued a trail of critically heralded albums including West Coast Coolin’ (2004), Stay With Me (2007), Sending My Love (2010), and Grammy-nominated 24/7 with saxophonist Gerald Albright. 2017 saw the release of Norman Brown’s anticipated and well-received Shanachie debut, Let It Go. Brown’s recording The Highest Act Of Love followed in 2019 and Heart To Heart in 2020 (both on Shanachie).
In March 2022, Shanachie Entertainment released Norman Brown’s 13th recording as a leader and fourth for the label, Let’s Get Away. On this latest release, Brown takes the opportunity to pay homage to two significant men who have shaped him personally and the other musically; his Father, Roy Brown Sr., and Wes Montgomery, who transformed the guitar harmonically, melodically, and technically. Brown puts his Midas touch on Lalo Schifrin’s “Down Here On The Ground,” which was the title track of Montgomery’s 1968 Creed Taylor produced session.