Maysa Leak, Norman Brown & Gerald Albright
@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
12 May 2007
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Maysa Leak – biography
Born and raised in Baltimore, MD. Maysa Leak’s musical journey began when she saw Melba Moore’s performance in the musical Purlie. Leak explains:
“The moment Melba Moore took the stage and opened her mouth I made my decision that music would be my fate.”
Leak attended Morgan State University where she not only earned a degree in classical performance, She would also meet the incomparable Stevie Wonder.
After graduating, Leak moved to North Hollywood to perform with Stevie Wonder’s Wonderlove. She also performed on the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever”, and appeared on well-known television shows such as Oprah and the Tonight Show.
In the early 90’s, Leak’s telephone audition would secure her place as a key member of Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick’s band ‘Incognito’ (one of the Uk’s premier jazz/funk/R&B bands). She re-located to London in 1992 and recorded “Tribes & Scribes”. To date Leak has recorded over seven successful albums with this group.
In 1995, Leak recorded her self-titled debut album, followed by “All My Life” in 1999. Leak’s honeyed vocals can be heard on many smooth jazz / soul compilations. To date she has collaborated with the likes of Will Downing, Rick Braun, Jason Rebello, Jason Miles, Jonathon Butler, Soul Summit and Pieces of a Dream. She has been produced by the likes of George Duke, Rex Rideout, Mike White (Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly) Chris “Big Dog” Davis and Richard Bull (Acoustic Alchemy).
Norman Brown – biography
Kansas born Norman Brown became interested in the guitar when he heard his older brother playing a borrowed six-string. Brown would practise on the same guitar in secret. His brother managed to listen in on one of his younger brothers practise sessions one day, and was so impressed he essentially stopped playing himself, opting to encourage and assist young Norman instead.
At high school Brown played R&B and other popular tunes with the high school band. He was initially influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix and the Isley Brothers. Brown Sr. (Norman’s father) encouraged him to expand his repertoire by listening to Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Brown’s father would eventually buy his son a new guitar and amplifier, allowing him to explore new musical territory. In 1980, Brown’s elder brother would use money from his first job to buy his sibling a professional-quality electric guitar and amplifier.
In 1983, Brown studied at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. After graduating a year later he would be employed by the same institution as a teacher.
In 1990, Brown signed to the MoJazz label (Motown records jazz arm). 1992 would see the release of his critically acclaimed self-written, co-produced debut album “Just Between Us”. His follow up, “After the Storm” released in 1994 also included many self-written compositions as well as a cover of Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes”. This album scored well on the Contemporary Jazz albums chart, as well as the rhythm & blues charts - confirming Brown had now reached a wider audience.
In 1996, Brown released “Better Days Ahead” on the MoJazz label, before switching to Warner Brothers. In 1999, the album “Celebration” was released to critical acclaim.
Gerald Albright – biography
Gerald Albright was born August 30, 1957 in South Central
Los Angeles. His love affair with music began when his piano teacher gave him his first saxophone. His attendance at the celebrated Locke High School would further re-enforce his passion.
By the time Albright attended the University of Redlands he had already become a polished performer, but his creative curiosity would not allow him to stop at the saxophone. After watching Louis Johnson in concert, Albright decided to concentrate on the bass guitar. Soon after graduating from college he joined Patrice Rushen, who was in the process of forming her own band. Initially Abright played saxophone in Rushen’s band, but later played bass when her original bass player left midway through the tour. Albright would continue with Rushen playing both instruments.
Albright’s reputation as a inimitable sideman would lead him to perform, and record with a variety of artists such as Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Lola Folana, Atlantic Star, the Temptations, Olivia Newton-John, Will Downing and Maurice White to name a few. He has toured with artists such as Les McCann, Rodney Franklin, Jeff Lorber, Teena Marie, the Winans, Marlena Shaw, Debra and Eloise Laws, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, and many more. Albright’s television appearances include A Different World, Melrose Place and many BET Jazz segments.
To date Albright has sold over 1,000,000 albums in the U.S alone. He is an accomplished producer, bass guitarist, keyboard player, flutist, drum programmer and background vocalist. He also finds time to support community programmes and fund raising projects for organisations such as the NAACP, The American Cancer Society, and The Institute for Black Parenting.
Maysa Leak – vocals
Norman Brown – guitar
Gerald Albright - saxophone
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.