Paul Brown is one of those rare individuals who has easily made the transition from that of a much sought after musical tactician to taking the reins as a lyrical ventriloquist and interpreter of sound. Because he speaks with many distinctive voices, his sound is seldom mundane or difficult on the ears. Following a highly successful career as a celebrated producer-engineer, as well as being the creative genius behind many prominent musicians, Paul recorded a much heralded CD in 2004 entitled Up Front. That release made Brown one of the most celebrated artists on Billboard's and R&R's Jazz charts, it also made him a star. As a result of that album, Paul began garnering considerable acclaim as one of smooth jazz's most prolific guitarists. Having found an additional niche as a recording artist, the natural order of things was to ascertain if lighning would strike again with the same degree of acclaim. On July 12, 2005, Brown released another stellar effort entitled The City, a smooth jazz recording that displays Paul's remarkable guitar character and charisma.
First and foremost, The City has eleven beautifully crafted tracks, seven of which are Paul Brown originals. Also included are some finely-tuned covers, which heats up the CD even more. Each song is a moving and grooving soundscape of experiences that blends with considerable ease. Through the course of intuitive creativity, Paul employs a variety of influences, including those of Wes Montgomery and Grover Washington, Jr. The very first track entitled "Cosmic Monkey" begans a journey that ebbs and flows with simplistic grooves and subtle rhythms. But that does not began to explain the excitement surrounding the The City. Coupled with some of the best musicians around today to include Boney James, Chuck Loeb and Michael Paulo, the CD incorporates some very distinctive overdubbed harmonies to complement Paul's melodious guitar style. One of the more colorful tunes is "Real Mutha For Ya," a cut made famous by '70s R&B icon Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Drawing upon Paul's funky side, there is a high degree of infused instrumental agility. Another outstanding track entitled "Hello Again" is a light and breezy soul samba, a Latin influenced melody that exhibits even more of Brown's versatility. By any stretch, the fluid interaction between Paul and his cadre of musicians pushes the level of anticipation beyond any perceived notions about smooth jazz.
The City is the continuation of a process that began long before its release. Having guided the careers of numerous artists during his years as a producer, Paul Brown's creative instincts were readily available to record his own thing. This CD along with his first release is the culmination of doing everything as a layered response to interactive events. The statements that Paul makes reveals an intuitive spirit of artistic expression, one that transcends the usual interpretation of most smooth jazz offerings. In this day and time, when an artist of Paul Brown's caliber comes along, one must relish in the notion that music such as his is few and far between.