Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a British perspective on all that’s good, and not so good, in the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Rick Braun describes his latest CD Yours Truly as ‘a musical letter’, as ‘songs of my life that for various reasons have made up a special part of my musical landscape.’ It takes just one listen or a glimpse at the liner notes to appreciate how personal Yours Truly is and it’s this that sets the project apart from being just another collection of covers. From tunes that evoke great memories to others that Rick simply loves, here is a musical tapestry of his life, the classic story of the promising sideman who went on to become the pre-eminent smooth jazz trumpeter of his time.
With every number deconstructed to the very minimum and backing that is both subtle and of the highest quality throughout, Braun looks right back to his boyhood days in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and of falling in love for the first time to the strains of the classic Michel Legrand song ‘What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life’. His rendition, embellished here by the silky piano skills of David Benoit, is magical. He recalls Lou Reed's ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ as like nothing he had ever heard before and has some fun with his memories from 1977 and the move he made from Rochester NY to Los Angeles in what he describes as a rusted out Chevy Nova. It was the soul of Barry White's ‘Love Theme’, and of Earth Wind and Fire’s ‘Shining Star’ that consumed him then and this latter track is the first from the album to be selected for radio play. Not surprisingly it is already tearing up the ‘Top Thirty Most Played’ chart.
Once in LA Braun became the ‘go to guy’ whenever a top notch trumpet player was needed to tour and this led him to work with such diverse talents as War, Rickie Lee Jones, Tina Turner, Glenn Frey, Natalie Cole, Tom Petty, Crowded House and Phoebe Snow. He uses the Dee Lite tune ‘Groove Is In My Heart’ to remember his return to LA in 1990 following a Rod Stewart tour and then chooses ‘Kiss Of Life’ as his very own tribute to Sade with whom he spent 1992 as her trumpet player on the Love Deluxe tour.
With an eye on all time personal favourites he includes two tracks from English artists, Simply Red's ‘Holding Back The Years’ and the Lisa Stansfield hit ‘All Around The World’. He handles both with huge sensitivity and makes them highlights of the entire collection.
Of course Rick Braun the fast living touring musician of the eighties is now Rick Braun smooth jazz superstar and family man. To reflect this he includes the John Mayer tune ‘Daughters’. It works well. It’s been a long road from the jazz-fusion outfit Auracle that Braun formed while a student at the prestigious Eastman School of Music to his solo debut with Intimate Secrets in 1993 and the chart topping success he routinely enjoys today. Be that as it may Rick is here to tell the story and, with Yours Truly, to share with his fans the memory of it all.Posted by Denis Poole at November 13, 2005 3:51 PM