Known for his impeccable chops, melodic wizardry and keen compositional prowess, trumpeter, composer and producer Rick Braun has been thrilling audiences for decades. Having clenched over 20 #1 Smooth Jazz hits, Braun has collaborated with the best in contemporary jazz including Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, Peter White, Dave Koz, Boney James and Brian Culbertson, to name a few. The highly versatile musician has also made a mark collaborating with pop stars like Rod Stewart, Tom Petty, Sade, REO Speedwagon, and Natalie Cole.
Rick Braun is back and dare I say, better than ever? Around The Horn is the title of the new album, and I know that it is probably cliche to say that it is possibly his best…..but I am saying that this album is his best to date. There are some interesting grooves and rhythms here, and he has some guest appearances that take the album to the next level.
Here are some of the highlights:
The album leads off with the track, So Strong. An uptempo track that reminds me of the classic, Mas Que Nada. There’s nothing wrong with that! If you find yourself driving down a highway near the coast, this song will be a part of that soundtrack.
Pool Dancer breaks it down to showcase a little funk. His horn just sits right inside of that groove, and for me, it is a misnomer. I am visualizing a chill out session at a Las Vegas pool. The weather is hot, but not scorching, and everyone is just chillin’. I will not be mad if you want to get up and dance though.
We always love a good slow jam. Especially a slow jam with a swing beat. Lindsey Webster lends her talent to the track, Love Take Me, and I must say that this my new favorite song. Braun expertly plays off of Webster’s lead, and he takes over at the end with his signature sound. One South Beach Night is the same song, with Braun supplying the lead.
The first single off of the album, We Don’t Talk Anymore is a remake off the Charlie Puth/Selina Gomez song. I was lukewarm on the original, but this version is the blueprint for those who are thinking about putting their spin on a current pop song. Oh, by the way, Peter White makes the first of two guest appearances on this track.
If you need a song or two to pick you up, just listen to Everything is Alright and In Common. Both tracks have an upbeat vibe that will get you going. By the way, In Common is Braun’s interpretation of the Alicia Keys song.
I Love You More is a slow jam with a reggae feel to it. With just a hint of backing vocals, this track is one of the highlights of the album. The title track, Around The Horn has a nice island groove. This features another great horn player, Till Bronner.
Around The Horn is one of the great albums of 2017, and I am sure that we will be hearing many singles off of the album.