Rick Braun: Kisses in the Rain
The first four tunes are the most jazz-oriented and satisfying; they come complete with catchy melodies, infectious live rhythms, and thoughtful arrangements - clean but not overly glossy. Braun alternates between open and muted trumpet, and turns in solos that are a bit more adventurous than you might expect from a commercially-oriented album. About half-way through, the program turns more to the programmed background tracks and moves more into the "romantic evening" groove. To my ears, the sweet-soul vocals ("Your World" and "Song for You") seem a bit formulaic and lower the bar on creativity a couple notches. "Middle of the Night" is sort of "Chuck Mangione meets the click track." There are tasty touches here and there, such as a nice tenor solo and interesting background brass parts on "Simplicity," and Braun's expressive balladry on the closer, "Emma." Overall, this is an enjoyable and well-executed program of contemporary work by one of the genre's leading proponents. (Warner Bros. 47994)
Track Listing: Car Wash 2000; Kisses in the Rain; Use Me; Grover's Groove; Your World; Middle of the Night; One for the Girls; Song for You; Simplicity; Emma's Song. (43:30)
Record Label: Warner Bros.