Sherman Oaks, CA: It’s been five years since trumpeter-flugelhorn player Rick Braun released an album full of the funky R&B contemporary jazz grooves that made him one of the genre’s most consistent hitmakers over the past twenty years, but the award-winning musician, producer and songwriter returns to his signature sound July 8 with the release of his sixteenth album, “Can You Feel It,” which will be issued by Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Records. A bona fide contender as the feel good anthem for the summer of 2014, Braun’s “Get Up And Dance,” a collaboration with tenor sax sensation Dave Koz, is already collecting radio playlist adds.
After scratching a creative itch to croon jazz standards on his two most recent releases, “Sings with Strings” and the holiday-themed “Swingin’ in the Snow,” Braun had a very specific direction he wanted to pursue for “Can You Feel It” for which he wrote or co-wrote nine tunes along with helming the production.
“When I started working on this album, which was about a year in the making, there were two goals that I had in mind. I wanted it to be really organic and have a lot of my friends playing on it. Young players melding together with the old faithful,” explained Braun.
So he reached out to a bunch of his friends, colleagues and collaborators and dialed back the time machine twenty years ago to the era of his breakthrough disc, “Beat Street,” to help chart the course for “Can You Feel It.”
“It’s a return to the sound and style of “Beat Street,” which essentially was a tribute to my years playing in War. I took out all of the sequencing with one exception and made the record like a garage band using great live players. It was a lot of fun making the record. It’s energetic and earthy. We hit it hard—kind of like Tower of Power—capturing the energetic, funky horn band sound. I wanted lots of horn section parts on the album.”
Braun added a new weapon to his arsenal: valve trombone. And he stacked the tracks with layers of horns section parts adding power, punch and potency. His friends were eager to join the festivities enabling Braun to toss the ball around the horn with Koz, Brian Culbertson, Philippe Saisse, Jeff Lorber, Euge Groove, Elliott Yamin and a retinue of ace players such as Frank “Third” Richardson, Nathaniel Kearney Jr., Randy Jacobs, Nate Phillips, Adam Hawley, Sergio Gonzalez, Freddie Washington, Brandon Fields, Sr Tony E. Moore, Phil Davis, Ramon Islas and more. Bud Harner, who co-wrote the first single with Braun, helped shepherd the album as associate producer.
A popular and dynamic performer who draws material for his set lists from his vast catalogue of No. 1 chart hits, radio playlist staples and fan favorites, Braun is touring nationally in support of “Can You Feel It” as a member of Jazz Attack with fellow contemporary jazz titans Peter White and Groove. Sprinkled in his concert calendar are dates with BWB, the all-star trio made up of Braun and Grammy winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown. The Allentown, Pennsylvania native entered the professional ranks by co-writing a Top 20 pop hit for REO Speedwagon (“Here With Me”) before becoming a first-call sideman touring and recording with Rod Stewart, Sade, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole and Tom Petty. Braun released his solo debut, “Intimate Secrets,” in 1992, but it was the success of “Beat Street” that forced the horn man to choose between continuing as a sideman and taking center stage as an artist. The decision came easily and Braun has never looked back on the path to stardom.