Charles BROWN – Blues and Other Love Songs 1992

Charles BROWN – Blues and Other Love Songs 1992


Charles Brown is a unique performer in the history of the blues and American pop music. In the 1940s, Brown emerged as a jazz-inflected blues pianist/singer, heavily influenced by the early success of the pre-“lush strings”-era Nat “King” Cole. When Cole proceeded into a polished mainstream pop vein, Brown picked up where the former had left off. Suave and urbane, Brown played a refined but still-earthy style of late-show/night club blues ballads, his mellow baritone weaving tales of love and the night, and so was a big influence on Ray Charles.

In 1992, he got into a studio with a sympathetic back-up band of guitar, bass, and drums as well as the rollicking tenor sax of Houston Person, and laid down this debonair set of originals and choice covers. BLUES highlights the jazzier side of Brown’s sound–listen to the heartfelt, Thelonious Monk-style swing of “One Mint Julep” and the luxurious Dave Brubeck-esque way he essays Monk’s “‘Round Midnight.” True, his voice has seen better days (he was 70 when this album was recorded), but Brown still retains here the spirit and elan of his best efforts.
Legend Charles Brown passed away in 1999 at the age of seventy-seven as his career represented something of a paradox. The pianist/vocalist/songwriter enjoyed success with a string of hits in the 40’s then seemed to drift into obscurity until his talents were rediscovered in the 90’s as he also became the recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Subsequent tours with singer Bonnie Raitt and a few blues recordings rekindled awareness of his enormous talents and with Blues and Other Love Songs which was recorded in 1992 and released here for “32 Jazz”, Brown performs a series of originals and standards. And along with the estimable saxophonist Houston Person and a tight-knit rhythm section, this newly released recording effectively showcases or highlights Brown’s soulful ruminations as an endearing vocalist and stylish pianist!
Brown’s soothing vocals, understated elegance and crafty blues oriented piano work shines on his solo rendition of the standard “Who’s Beating My Time” while his upbeat demeanor, poise and expressive vocalizations surge forward on, “I Put Myself Together”. With this piece, saxophonist Houston Person establishes his presence towards the final minutes as he performs bright soulful lines to compliment Danny Caron’s softly stated chord voicings. The musicians turn in an affable, mid-tempo swing version of “Mint Julep” as Person pursues rich lyricism sparked by gritty lines atop Brown’s rollicking and rolling piano work while the pianist gives Monk’s classic, “Round Midnight” the stride piano and R&B treatment in altogether animated fashion.

Like so many of his peers and predecessors, Charles Brown enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence later on in life yet his influence and significant legacy remains documented thanks to fine recordings such as Blues and Other Love Songs.
Glenn Astarita.
Charles Brown- (Vocals, Piano);
Danny Caron- (Guitar);
Houston Person- (Tenor Sax);
Ruth Davies- (Bass);
Gaylord Birch- (Drums).
01. Do You Want Me? 5:18
02. Fool That I Am 4:16
03. Who’s Beating My Time? 4:18
04. I Put Myself Together 8:01
05. What A Life 4:19
06. Mint Julep 9:34
07. You Are My First Love 3:54
08. ‘Round Midnight 3:37
09. Before The Evening Sun Sets 3:43
10. I’ve Got A Right To Cry 4:31

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