Sherman Oaks, CA: Back with his first contemporary jazz foray in five years, trumpeter Rick Braun appears to be wasting no time in his quest to add more No. 1 hits to his burgeoning catalogue of chart-toppers. “Get Up And Dance,” his fun-filled frolic with sax sensation Dave Koz that bodes to become the song of the summer, is already No. 3 on the Billboard singles chart this week, the first cut issued from Braun’s sixteenth set, “Can You Feel It,” which was released today by Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Records.
Braun produced and wrote or co-wrote nine songs on the new session that revisits the spirit of his twenty-year-old breakthrough collection, “Beat Street,” reflects his past playing in War and conjures the mighty Tower of Power. After satisfying his creative itch to croon jazz standards on a pair of recent albums, Braun entered the studio focused on delivering a high-powered horn set filled with jazz-funk joints recorded with friends. The vibrant harmonies and funky grooves are performed in a live setting center staging Braun’s trumpet, flugelhorn and newest weapon, valve trombone, which bursts forth from a rhythmic panorama of rapid fire horn section revelry. The eleven-song record showcases Braun collaborating with some of the finest instrumental artisans including Koz, charismatic keyboardist Brian Culbertson (“Back To Back”), sax heavyweight Euge Groove (“Take Me To The River” and “Dr. Funkenstein”), fusion pioneer Jeff Lorber (“Delta” and “Radar”), old soul singer Elliott Yamin (“Take Me To The River”) and keyboardist-arranger Philippe Saisse, who played on five tunes, co-penned the title track and authored the disc’s lone ballad, the beauty “Another Kind of Blue.”
The revered headliner will support “Can You Feel It” with concert dates through the end of the year with his own band, with Groove and guitar star Peter White as Jazz Attack, and with Grammy winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown as BWB with whom he will play an August 17 show at The Hollywood Bowl. Braun concludes the year with his annual New Year’s Eve fundraiser at the JW Marriott Star Pass Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona sharing the bill with White, sax powerhouse Richard Elliot and special guest vocalist Larry Braggs on an evening themed “A Night in New Orleans.” The event benefits the Autism Society, a nonprofit organization tasked with improving the lives of those affected by the autism spectrum disorder, which includes Braun’s teenage daughter.
Below is a sampling of the initial album reviews:
“The music is joyful, fun, energetic and earthy and hits you in your tone center via Rick’s melodic trumpet, funky R&B grooves, harmonic wizardry, and emotional, expressive flugelhorn playing.” - AXS
“There is a constant groove throughout, with the funk guitar and layered horns of the title track, the spirited R&B of Al Green’s ‘Take Me to the River’ (with Elliot Yamin doing the disc's only vocals) and Latin beats on the smooth ‘Mallorca.’ Even on the melodic ballads ‘Silk’ and ‘The Dream,’ the rhythm never stops.” – Allentown Morning Call
“The contempo-jazz trumpeter leans toward a Tower of Power vibe with lots of younger players and plenty of funk.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“A return to the groove-oriented, largely instrumental jazz of his early work.” – All Music Guide
“’Can You Feel It’ starts with the explosive, funky title track and continues with cool mid tempo, warm ballads, and popping upbeat tunes.” – O’s Place Jazz
“This may indeed be Rick’s best release to date, and it shows that he’s on the top of his musicality!” – Smooth Jazz Europe
“The hottest funk album this year.” – Smooth Jazz Daily
“It will be one of the most important albums of this 2014. Indisputable.” – No Solo Smooth Jazz
“Rick Braun has been giving us music for over twenty years now. We have watched him grow, mature, take detours to other musical endeavors, take chances, and dazzle us with his performances and creativity. He is the complete package.” – SmoothViews
“Braun’s longevity in this business is testament to his undeniable appeal as a charming and engaging artist, as well as being one who knows the wide spectrum of this music intimately — and what moves and motivates people, peers and fans alike.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride
“When it was all said and done, Rick Braun’s intent to create organic music with his friends and create a funky album with a real experience was accomplished.” – Pink and Blue Notes