A decade ago, Norman Brown's After the Storm followed in the considerable footsteps of George Benson to set a new gold standard for romantic soul-jazz. Now the guitarist is at the eye of a storm again -- namely, his Summer Storm concert tour, which pairs him with a trio of like-minded artists and promises to be one long, slow, scented bubble bath of a show. On his sixth and latest album, 2004's West Coast Coolin', the Kansas City-born Brown debuts a mellow vocal style to match his flawless fingerboard chops, causing the already frequent Benson comparisons to multiply.
Among those joining Brown at the State Theatre will be veteran soul man Peabo Bryson, who was the '80s king of the slow-jam duet, notching hits with Roberta Flack, Melissa Manchester, and Natalie Cole. Brenda Russell, meanwhile, may be best known for her Grammy-winning 1988 single "Piano in the Dark," but that success masked a long career writing for and performing with the likes of Barbra Streisand and the late Luther Vandross. And Everette Harp, a saxman with roots in both R&B and gospel, also had a long list of sideman credits (Anita Baker, Kenny Loggins) before going solo in the '90s with his own brand of sweet, sensitive jazz.