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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Feb 27, 2022

Self-titled albums are typically introductory statements reserved for an artist’s first release. In the case of trumpeter/keyboardist Rick Braun, it took until his 30th anniversary as a solo recording release Rick Braun – a stylistically eclectic, ultra-soulful/funky and exotica-tinged collection of 10 new songs.

While put into the box we call “smooth jazz” for years, Braun stylistically has been closer to his musical heroes Herb Alpert, Freddie Hubbard and later Miles Davis for years. In addition to the usual compliment of electric instruments that has become his trademark, a 10-piece live string section, arranged and conducted by Nick Lane, is heard on five tracks of the album, .paying homage to the sound of the classic 60’s and 70’s albums on Creed Taylor’s legendary CTI Records. Roy McClurg served as the album’s executive producer.

The album finds influences in world music (“Turkish”), dance music (“Da Funk,” “Feet First”) and the Latin tinge of “Back to Mallorca” and “Ampr de Mi Vida (Love of My Life).” All in all, it’s a satisfying collection that doesn’t break a lot of new ground, but since when is that a prerequisite for an enjoyable album of music.

Braun has gone from being a sideman for everyone from Crowded House, Tom Petty and Sade to Tina Turner, Rod Stewart and Glenn Frey to chart-topping front man and acclaimed producer. He has amassed over 20 Number 1 Smooth Jazz hits (including “Notorious" and "Grazin’ in the Grass"), produced chart-toppers for David Benoit, Marc Antoine and the late Jeff Golub, and created two of the genre’s most impactful dual albums ever (Shake It Up with Boney James and RnR with Richard Elliot). He still tours and records with Elliot, who he calls his best friend,  and has recorded three hit albums as part of the all-star trio BWB (with Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown).

Podcast 883 is my conversation with Rick Braun, as we discuss his lifetime search for “the sound,” and how he tries to capture it. We talk gear, collaborators and how the new album came together. Musical selections from Rick Braun include “Return to Mallorca" and "Da Funk."