Kansas City jazz guitarist Norman Brown is s-m-o-o-t-h, but not in a Kenny G way. Brown's fluid guitar playing — which blends rhythmic complexity with vivid articulation — recalls the work of his idols, Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Collaborations with Brian McKnight, Peabo Bryson and Boyz II Men planted his foot in the soul-jazz camp and introduced him to the Soul Train audience. He explored that niche further by developing a vocal presence on his recent albums West Coast Coolin' and Stay With Me. Doses of funk and hip-hop inject Brown's songs with buoyant, toe-tapping grooves — the sort you might max out to on a cruise ship en route to Cabo San Lucas (an annual Brown gig). The Wyandotte High School grad brings his romance-kindling jams to the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665) at 7:30 tonight. Tickets start at $29.50.
Sat., Feb. 9, 2008