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Jazzy supergroup BWB back in action with Michael Jackson tribute

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013

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The instrumental "supergroup" BWB -- guitarist Norman Brown, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun -- are back together "because the fans have been demanding it," according to Brown.

The trio's first album, "Groovin'," came out in 2002, but each musician returned to his individual career for most of the 11 years before the new "Human Nature" came out in June. But during that interim, Brown recalls, "anywhere we went, people were like, 'Where's BWB?' 'We wanna hear BWB.' 'When are y'all gonna do something.' So we had to get back together. We had to find a window that worked for all of us and do something."

That happened earlier this year, when BWB hit the studio after Brown and Braun hatched plans while both were performing on a cruise in 2012. Braun had the concept of making "Human Nature" a tribute to the late Michael Jackson, with 11 mostly instrumental renderings of early Jackson 5 hits ("I'll Be There," "Who's Lovin' You"), Jacksons favorites such as "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" and iconic solo material such as "Billie Jean," "Beat It" and the title track.

It's certainly satisfied the fan demand that Brown, 50, speaks of, and that response has in turn inspired the trio to make the group more of a priority in the future.

"This has kind of taken on a life of its own," he says. "We started off playing in February and have been rolling ever since, and it's rolled into a tour for next year already. So we're gonna go ahead and do that, and I'm sure we'll start working on a new concept for a new record before too long.

"I think we're a band that's gonna a band now."

BWB performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit. Tickets are $36-$81. Call 313-961-3500 or visit www.motopera.org.

Web Site: www.motopera.org

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