Jazz Guitarist Norman Brown to Release New Album “It Hits Different” on March 29th, 2024 | LISTEN!

Grammy Winning, Multi-Platinum Selling & Chart-Topping Guitar Hero
Norman Brown Releases Fourteenth Album as a Leader It Hits Different

Out March 29, 2024

Guests Include Wirlie Morris, Lil’ John Roberts, Tom Schuman, Paul Brown & More

Music is a language, it speaks to the invisible part of us that moves the physical part of us,” declares the charismatic, introspective, and deeply spiritual Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown. The multi-platinum selling and chart-topping guitar guru has been thrilling international audiences for over four decades with his jaw-dropping virtuosity, soul-stirring performances, and gravity-defying technique. The exultation that emanates from his riveting performances is hard to resist. It is no surprise that the iconic George Benson calls Norman Brown, “one of the greatest and most articulate guitarists out there.” A musician’s musician, Brown has collaborated with George Benson as well as countless others including Dave Koz, Brian McKnight, Kirk Whalum, Miki Howard, Jeff Lorber, Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Peabo Bryson, and Chanté Moore. March 29, 2024, Norman Brown’s fourteenth and anticipated release as a leader, It Hits Different, will be released on Shanachie Entertainment. Norman Brown is one of the busiest touring artists on the contemporary Jazz scene. As a long-time practitioner of meditation and Tai Chi he says that “balance” is central to his daily existence. He adds that actively “practicing positive mental and physical habits and working on spiritual cultivation,” keep him on the right path.

It Hits Different, is collection of eleven invigorating originals that transport you on a fantastic voyage and that seamlessly unite the best elements of Jazz, R&B, Pop, Blues, and beyond. Brown shares, “I’ve put a great amount of time, energy and focus into developing my gift of channeling a heavenly sound that strikes the spirit, moves emotions and makes you feel good.” His intent for his latest project was to ensure that the music connects with his fans (affectionately dubbed “Normantics”) and “hits different” from his previous recordings. “The music on this album expands my personality and artistic expression and it reveals additional elements of my character,” confides Norman. Some of the highlights on It Hits Different include the lead single and opening track “Anything,” which is steadily climbing the radio charts. The song’s intoxicating buttery soul riffs, sweet melodious and singable melody, and feel-good groove, instantly strike you. Also included on the recording is the hypnotic “Asur,” driven by the funky undercurrent of Lil’ John Roberts’ (Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Musiq Soulchild, Prince) drum grooves which ride sublimely alongside Norman’s soulful guitar runs. An integral part of Norman’s artistry is this devotion to his faith and the principals of Maat, the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, harmony, morality, and justice. He explains that “‘Ausur,’ is the first law of God which is God on earth, man’s highest form spiritually.” The composition “Strollin’” featuring Tom Schuman, the legendary keyboardist from Spyro Gyra, is another gem and a prime example of Norman’s keen ability to conjure the perfect sonic oasis and respite from the frenzy of the world. “Chicken Shack,” is a burnin’ and jubilant soul-jazz number with a blazing horn section, that showcases Norman’s flawless, funky, and mesmerizing soloing. “I love ‘Chicken Shack,’” says Norman. “This was extremely fun to record. It was inspired by a memory of a visit with my grandmother in the country.” On the sultry “To Forever,” Norman makes his guitar sing with his laid back groove and crisp R&B licks that rock back and forth to the vocals of singer James Champion. The album’s title track is a shining up-tempo tune which encapsulates the feeling of knowing when you have found the right person, at the right time, and you know this time it’s different. It features the vocals of the multi-talented Wirlie Morris who co-wrote the song. Morris has collaborated with everyone from Charlie Wilson, Boys II Men, Johnny Gill and Keith Sweat, among numerous others. Norman and Wirlie first collaborated on Norman’s West Coast Coolin’ recording in 2002. They both longed to collaborate again. “Our magical forces reconnected when I heard someone yelling my name at a bank in Georgia in 2019 and it was Wirlie Morris,” laughs Norman. “It turned out that he lives five minutes from me. Wirlie made a small background appearance on my CD Let’s Get Away but this time I wanted the world to hear his dynamic lead vocals.”

Connection is the heart of Norman Brown’s music. When he is performing, he taps into a higher frequency and thrives in a space where he is the music, and the guitar is simply an extension of himself. There is a joy that emanates from him that is almost palpable. In return, his desire is to pass this on to his fans and to make a lasting connection. “I wish to be of service to my fellow men,” explains Norman. “I look upon my work as an opportunity to be overcome with joy and I want to inspire others to search inside themselves for the silver lining. We all have an opportunity to grow in gratitude for our lives and the blessings we have.”

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. Born in Shreveport, LA, and raised in Kansas City, KS Norman Brown has enjoyed a career longevity that is rare in this business. Never one to rest on his laurels, he states, “I always remind myself that success lies within my own brain. To expect difficulties and to force my way through them. To avoid procrastination in all its forms and to never, under any circumstances put off until tomorrow any duties that should be performed today.” It is these virtues that keep Brown on his astonishing evolution. 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 (in which he teamed up with Paul Brown), 2002’s Just Chillin’ (featuring vocalists Michael McDonald, Miki Howard, and Chanté Moore) scored a Grammy. The same year, Brown joined forces with saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun forming the group BWB, recording 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, Heart To Heart in 2020 and Let’s Get Away in 2022 (all on Shanachie).

Aside from making quality music for music’s sake, Norman Brown’s greatest goal is to bring people together. He concludes the goal is to achieve, “A life united in harmony in the state of a joyful peace.” Get ready to experience Norman Brown’s latest masterpiece, he hopes for you It Hits Different.

Shanachie Records

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