Rick Braun is in high demand these days, both as a trumpeter and a producer - he certainly has his thumb on the pulse of today's adult contemporary music. His solo debut on Warner Brother, hot on the heels of last year's successful collaboration with Boney James on Shake It Up , should further extend his mastery of the idiom.
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)
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)