You simply can not have a serious discussion about contemporary instrumental music without bringing the name Paul Brown into the mix. More awards and more Grammy wins and nominations then I have time to list, Brown quietly goes about the business of laying down some of the best music around.
Tell us about The Funky Joint. You have some amazing guests join you such as Euge Groove and Bob James. You pulled double duty as the producer; did this pose any unique challenges and if so can you elaborate?
P.B. - "I kind of approach everything from a production point of view. Life, music, writing etc..I’ve always thought there two kinds of people in this world, “MUSICIANS, and everyone else”. And ,when people say ,”I’m spiritual”, that’s the way I feel about music. I’m either writing, arranging, playing or recording music on a daily basis. So ,that is my spirituality, and the way I live. I feel very fortunate to have that to escape to. When it came to recording “the funky joint”, it was pretty much groundhog day. The only real difference was that I felt like it was going to be my last CD. At least a CD recorded for a label. I don’t write songs with a formula or direction. It’s what ever is inside of me that moment. Every song is it’s own entity, and I produce that song to be the best form it can be. I like music best when it presents a strong vibe, not a particular vibe, but one that gets across what I was feeling when writing it. A lot of people say they have trouble knowing when a production is “done”. For me ,I have to be moved emotionally, or it’s not done. When it does get to me with multiple listens , you really can’t ask for more."
The Funky Joint has been called "back to basics" by a lot of people in the industry. a warm organic, groove permeates this release. How did the creative process work in putting this project together?
Other guests on the record include Jonathan Fritzen. and Darren Rahn...you have played with just about everyone. You are mentoring some rising stars such as Jessy J - is there anyone left you would love to work on a project with?
P.B. "I love working with singers, and would like to do a CD with the great singers of today. It’s way more fun for me when I have some other cats to play off. One of the things I don’t like about a lot of smooth jazz is that there’s no interaction between other players. Much to safe. It’s nice to have some unpredictable moments in a song. I always laugh when I hear people talk shit about the word smooth jazz. It’s really not jazz(according to my dad, and a lot of others), but it is smooth. It more accurately describes the genre than the word jazz does. Mainly because of the lack of improv and pop style road maps.Lots of the artists in the genre are great jazz musicians, but have amazing restraint when it comes to their performances. Like any other kind of music there are greats and not so greats."
You are as equally as proficient as a producer as you are a performer but for the uninitiated what makes a good producer?
P.B. "A producer needs to choose the material and style of each song. Make the artist feel comfortable and confident about what they’re doing. Make sure it’s recorded properly and stay on budget. That’s about it."
Who do get inspiration from purely as a guitarist?
P.B. - "Love Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery, Jerry Garcia."
Finally - What is up for the future? The Funky Joint is still killing it on the charts, so where do you go from here?
P.B. "Playing live a lot more these days. Really starting to enjoy that. Continue to find new artists and make another CD of my own ,maybe."
I want to extend my sincere thanks to Paul and to the head of Woodward Ave. Mark Nordman for making this happen! You can find a direct link to Woodward Ave. on my site www.criticaljazz.com and be sure and head over to the Paul Brown web site at www.paulbrownjazz.com. You can check out my review of The Funky Joint http://www.criticaljazz.com/2012/02/paul-brown-funky-joint-woodward-avenue.html