A guitarist who is very popular in smooth jazz, Norman Brown, inspired by George Benson, also has a laidback and R&B-ish vocal style. Born in 1963, Brown grew up in Kansas City. He began playing the guitar when he was 8. Initially influenced by Jimi Hendrix and R&B groups, he switched towards jazz after hearing Wes Montgomery records played for him by his father. In the mid-1980s, he moved to Los Angeles to study at the Musicians Institute. After he graduated, Brown was briefly a teacher at the Institute but then was discovered by Norman Connors and signed to Motown’s MoJazz label. He debuted with Just Between Us in 1992 and caught on two years later with his After the Storm CD, following it up with 1996’s Better Days Ahead. By then, Brown was appearing regularly at contemporary jazz festivals and attracting large crowds.
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