Smooth, seasoned, suave, and eNORMously talented, Norman Brown brings us yet another finely crafted gem in Stay With Me. Armed with his trusted Ibanez, a guitar I happen to own and love and can only dream of even remotely playing in the fashion as this virtuoso, he proves once again why he is among the elite in the world of smooth jazz/R&B.
Norman brings with him on this latest endeavor the well-polished skills of producer/arranger/guitarist Paul Brown and pal Brian McKnight, who wrote, produced, sang, and played on the title cut. He also reunites with fellow BWB cohorts Rick Braun and Kirk Whalum on the catchy, smooth cut "It Ain’t Over BWB," that’s gracing the airwaves across the country. There is so much top-notch material here that choosing favorites is virtually impossible for me. I will say that "A Quiet Place," which clearly exhibits the fluid brilliance of Brown’s skills (as do they all, actually), would be among them. One of the most impressive things I’ve always admired about Norman Brown is his ability to create silky, distinctive hooks and deliver high-end quality vocals, whether his or those of a guest or two.
I remember my very first time seeing Norman in person. It was several years ago at a club in Oakland, California (I believe the name is/was Kimball’s East). I was blown away by his stage presence, his lightning quick riffs, and his ability to easily connect with his audience. I remember totally feeling his version of Janet Jackson’s "That’s the Way Love Goes" (that still tops my list of favorites performed by him). This, I thought, is the consummate entertainer. Since then, I’ve seen him on numerous occasions and have never been disappointed. Skill of this caliber is just not prone to offering up disappointment, only excitement and awe.