dee BROWN: Deep Secrets (Innervisions)

Soul, jazz and gospel-inspired guitarist dee Brown (not a typo, he doesn’t capitalise that forename) impressed with  his last album, 2018’s ‘Remembering You’. The collection was inspired by the tragic and sudden death of dee’s fiancée, gospel singer, Shaunia Edwards. Grief stricken, dee resolved to mark the relationship with new music. He was sure that that’s what Ms Edwards would have wanted and the result, rather than melancholic, was a joyous affair – a celebration of what the couple had rather than what they’d lost.

‘Deep Secrets’, Brown’s new album, was born out of similar circumstances. Whilst working on it, the guitarist’s  mother died and dee quickly decided to dedicate the new work to her. Simultaneously, the pandemic struck and dee was forced to work remotely with players working in their own homes leaving him, as co-producer, to piece it all together. The result, like ‘Remembering You’ is another largely joyous collection of contemporary smooth jazz – that joy, I’m guessing, stemming from Brown’s deep Christian faith. His faith has always been his inspiration and consequently we can assume that ‘Praise Is What I Do’ is the album’s focus track. It’s an epic 7 minutes plus gospel burner with a live atmosphere. Gerald Brooks offers an impassioned lead vocal supported by a gospel choir and Brown’s deeply felt guitar fills.

Sonically, ‘Praise Is What I Do’ is the odd one out on the 11 tracker but thematically it’s right in step with the gospel message that dee is trying to put over. So the messages in the music of cuts like the jaunty ‘Wake Up’ and the smooth ‘Controlled Passion’ are clear. Though rather than proffer a gospel feel, their sound is classic guitar-led smooth jazz – melodic and groove heavy. Other highlights include ‘Tie The Knot’ on which guest trumpeter Lin Rountree channels Tom Browne’s classic ‘Funkin’ For Jamica’. For real counterpoint, it’s followed by the closer, ‘Pretty Girl’ – a gentle ode to Browns’ first grandchild, Skylar.

dee Brown’s ‘Deep Secrets’ is out now.

(BB) 3/5