No instruments dominate smooth jazz more than the guitar and saxophone, which is why Gerald Albright and Norman Brown, two of the genre's most dominant players, make such an inspired pairing. Both musicians are on the top of their game and while 24/7 breaks no new ground, it does provide perfect listening for warm summer nights when a cool groove is required.
Multi-instrumentalist Albright's array of saxophones and robust tone tends to slightly overshadow Brown's deft guitar playing at times, but never overwhelms it. Brown recedes a bit from a soloist to sideman, but seems comfortable allowing Albright to do the heavy lifting while he follows his lead.
There's a definite "back in the day" vibe to 24/7 with ample amounts of funk, soul and a taste of quiet storm to "In the Moment," "Champagne Life" and the title track which features the striking vocals of the saxophonist's daughter, Selina Albright.
Above all, Albright and Brown are experts at entertaining the audience. There's no pretense of anything historical or monumental in 24/7. The duo have secured their place in contemporary jazz and even if they aren't breaking new ground, they clearly have a synergy that makes this stylish collaboration work so well.
Track Listing: In the Moment; Keep It Moving; Perfect Love; Buenos Amigos; Tomorrow; Yes I Can; 24/7; Champagne Life; The Best Is Yet to Come; Power of Your Smile
Personnel: Gerald Albright: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flutes, bass guitar, percussion, programming; electronic wind instrument; background vocals; Norman Brown: lead guitar, rhythm gutiar; Tracy Carter: keyboards (1, 7, 8, 10); Rick Watford: rhythm guitar (1, 4, 8); Jay Williams: drums (1, 4, 7, 8); Herman Jackson: keyboards (2, 3, 5. 6, 9): Byron Miller: bass (2, 3, 5, 6, 9); Charles Steeter: drums (2, 3, 5, 6, 9) ; Ramon Ysalas: percussion (2, 5, 6, 9); Rochella Brown: vocals (3); Demille Cole-Heard: vocals (3); Phil Davis: keyboards (4); Selina Albright: vocals (7, 8) ; Ricky Lawson: drums (10); Mark Cagill: strings, harp and bell programming (10)
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.