Sending My Love features nine original songs, penned by Brown, alone or in collaboration with keyboardist Herman Jackson or other associates. In addition to the core group, a five-piece horn section appears on some tracks. Daughter Rochella Brown, Melvin Moore III and the Sounds of Blackness also make appearances.
Alex Al's bass line sets the groove for "Play Time." Drums and percussion enhance the background. The horn section softly underscores Brown's lead during the verses, but come out a bit stronger during the chorus. Brown scats from time to time. But the guitar is clearly the star. The playing is clean and precise. During the closing sequence, piano and percussion give the song a Latin vibe.
"Coming Back (Return of the Man)" is another finger-snapping, head-bobbing groove. It has solid contributions all around. Brown carries the piece much of the way. Herman Jackson steps forward with a brief solo, but he gets plenty of bang for his buck, slipping in several rapid-notes-per-second phrases. Brown scores some quick-fingering exercises as well.
The overall theme of Sending My Love is positive. The lyrics for the vocal tracks are uplifting, and every selection has a happy, "life is good," mood. A few of the tracks, while listenable, lack punch. They fit too easily into the mold of contemporary R&B, which means they sound like they were mass produced on an R&B assembly line. The instruments-only tracks do not suffer this condition.
Track Listing: Come Go With Me; Here's My Number; Sending My Love; Celebrate Me Home; Play Time; Special Moments; I'm Pouring My Heart Out; Thinking About You; Coming Back (Return of the Man); One Last Goodbye.
Personnel: Norman Brown: guitar, vocals; Herman Jackson: keyboards; Emmery Williams: piano, programming; Alex Al: bass; Teddy Campbell: drums; Jubu: rhythm guitar; Kevin Ricard: percussion; Ellis Randolph III: tenor sax; Jumaane S. Smith: trumpet; Miguel C. Gandelman: tenor sax; Raymond C. Monteiro: trumpet; Garrett B. Smith: trombone; Melvin Moore III: vocals; Rochella Brown: vocals (4), Sounds of Blackness: choir (4).
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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