The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Norman Brown & Valduero Crianza

Had a hectic week, but excellent week and now it’s time for four days off to celebrate 35 years of marriage to the love of my life. Kicking back calls for something smooth and cool. Norman Brown is a giant of a smooth jazz guitarist, following in the footsteps of George Benson to whom he is often compared. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, Brown first picked up a guitar at the age of 8. His initial inspiration came from hearing the psychedelic sounds of Jimi Hendrix, but he soon discovered his father's favorite guitarist, Wes Montgomery, and found the style that fit him like a glove. After high school, Brown moved to Los Angeles to pursue his musical career, attending the Musicians Institute where he also taught for a time. Brown was discovered and signed to the MoJazz label, a division of Motown. His 1992 debut album, “Just Between Us,” was followed with the gold-certified “After The Storm” and 1996's “Better Days Ahead.” He switched to the Warner Brothers label where he teamed with producer Paul Brown and his 2003 recording, “Just Chillin',” earned him a GRAMMY® in the best pop instrumental category. Relax and enjoy some of the best smooth jazz guitar on the planet.

It’s pouring rain (go figure) here in Nebraska, something we haven’t seen in a month. So with the heat breaking, how about a 2007 Valduero Crianza from the  Ribero del Duero region of Spain. Let it breathe for an hour before you drink it to let the tannins calm down. Once that’s done, you’ll find scents of black fruits, smoke, and spice. It has an elegant, almost sweet palate full of black cherry and blackberry. The texture is velvety with nice balance. Just like the guitar of Norman Brown. Enjoy!


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