Ron Brown
In The Spirit

With impeccable jazz credentials on his resumé, saxophone specialist Ron Brown comes forward on his sophomore project with an all-out Gospel celebration.

In The Spirit is a quiet storm jazz explosion that includes more than several vocal jazz jams, each of them pillared by Brown’s gift for arrangment and songwriting, In The Spirit CDand anchored by his ability to switch from senstive sax accompaniment to flow-blown solo forays.

The killer on this project is "I Surrender All". Joining Brown’s alto sax on the set are a veritable dream team of jazz players: Kirk Whalum on tenor sax, Jonathan Butler on guitar, Ronnie Foster on organ and the fabled Bill Maxwell on drums. Going straight into pocket from the opening bar, it’s a six-minute delight of close sax harmony, with the smooth arrangement contributed by Whalum.

While you can never say there’s too many highlights, an album this loaded down with as many as this one does make it rather unfair to point out only a few. Nevertheless, you’ll have a hard time missing "More Like You", with bold basswork from Alex Al and vocalist Tim Kepler out front with warm tones and heartfelt melodics. "He’s The Son" is compelling for its deep groove and melodies deftly handled by a vocal crew that includes Kristle Murden, Yvonne Williams, Alfie Silas and Brown as well.

Some creatively jazzed instrumental hymn rearrangements take their spot, with "Let Us Break Bread Together" and "Come Thou Font Of Every Blessing" leading the way. Brown’s unaccompanied solo closes the project with "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms", recorded so intensely that you can even hear the soft key clicks as he furiously pedals his fingers on the runs.

Ten cuts in total and with Brown's humble and praise-giveing spirit soaking the entirety, you really can’t miss with this one.

Producer: Ron Brown
album release date: January 2001
ManKind Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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