“AROUND THE HORN” WITH RICK BRAUN

Rick Braun sets himself apart with his latest album “AROUND THE HORN.” This standout project is more contemporary and described by Rick as being “a musical journey around the world.” This will be Rick’s seventeenth album and debut release on Shanachie Entertainment. Braun collaborated with long time friend John Stoddart and says that “this record would not be what it is without John’s help.” Peter White and Lindsey Webster are featured artists, adding their originality. “AROUND THE HORN” is a collection of original songs and covers of songs. Braun added his genius to songs by Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Charlie Puth, and Selena Gomez, maintaining their authenticity. Rick proudly admits that his daughter was “a big inspiration for the album.” He even titled the song “Pool Dancer” for her. Braun’s friend and fellow trumpet player from Germany, Till Bronner, joins him on the title track “AROUND THE HORN.” Together, they take trumpet playing to another level.

Listen to Rick and I share conversation:

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Super trio BWB is in the mood to party Memphis style

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Super trio BWB is in the mood to party Memphis style 

The self-titled album from long-time friends Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun

is the first set written by the hit-makers. Their Artistry Music debut arrives April 22.

SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF. (23 March 2016): You can almost smell the tangy barbecue sauce dripping from the forthcoming third album “BWB” by chart-topping trio BWB, who throw down like a sweaty garage band at a Memphis backyard house party on their debut for the Artistry Music label arriving April 22. It’s the first time the band made up of GRAMMY® winners Norman Brown (guitar, vocals) and Kirk Whalum (saxophone, flute, vocals) and Rick Braun (trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone, vocals) cooked up a festive, sticky-fingered feast of ten new contemporary jazz, R&B, soul and funk joints. Braun produced the session in his suburban Los Angeles-area home studio where the band moved in with their families and lived together for an entire week. The result is a collaborative disc celebrating brotherhood and live music. The tantalizing title track is the first radio cut, which enters Billboard’s Top 10 on next week’s singles chart and appears to be ticketed for the top spot.

Anytime the three solo stars get together to record, it’s an instant candidate for event album of the year in the contemporary jazz world. BWB has been itching to record original material ever since they first recorded as a high-wattage trio in 2002 when they released a collection of covers entitled “Groovin’.” Over a decade later, they reunited as a combo in 2013 with “Human Nature,” paying tribute to Michael Jackson’s songbook and scoring their first No 1 hit with “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).” This time around, they decided to compose the material entirely on their own, creating party jams specifically with their spirited live shows in mind.

As Braun tells it, “A long time ago in a faraway galaxy, three brothers dreamed of recording a CD of all original material as a band. Although the evil forces of time and geography stood in their way for many years, a dream is a powerful idea and ultimately the collective, creative force will prevail. And in that spirit, Norman and Kirk moved into my house for a short week with their loved ones. We played our horns, sang, drank wine, wrote, laughed and lived together. Thus it began!”

Primarily instrumental with a batch of tunes amped up by fun-filled vocal refrains and catchy, sing-a-long choruses, BWB’s members wove DNA from their hometowns into the music mix. With Whalum’s Memphis soul serving as the nucleus, Braun’s Philly funk atoms and Brown’s Kansas City jazz genes add flavor, flair and some old-school stank to the homegrown offering that struts and seduces with swagger and sophistication along with a devilish dash of mischief. An equally important nonmusical component is incorporating the enduring love and joy of treasured friendships that exists between the musicians.

“As I grow wiser, grayer and more awesomer (!), I realize just how important relationships are to me –– much more important even than music. But how awesome it is to make great music with great friends! This is a glorious bonus and a wonderful journey. I am grateful for “the Chord of three strands” that is BWB,” Whalum testified.

Brown concurred enthusiastically. “I believe in the Master Mind! Two or more minds joined in harmony with a common goal will surely connect to higher source energy. BWB is a brilliant vibration channeling a spirit of joyful elevation. I love my brothers!”

BWB are touring throughout the year in support of the new album playing festival dates including Boscov’s Berks Jazz Festival (April 8), Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival (April 16), St. Lucia Jazz Festival (May 7), Steel City Jazz Festival (June 4), Tri-C Jazz Festival (June 25), QC Summerfest (July 31), Wolf Creek Jazz Festival (September 4) and the Capital Jazz SuperCruise (October 23) as well as a pair of Texas dates in Austin at the One World Theatre (May 27) and Houston at Dosey Doe (May 28).

The songs contained on “BWB” are:

“Triple Dare”

“Bust A Move”

“BWB”

“Bolly Bop”

“I Want You Girl”

“Lemonade”

“Memphis Steppin’”

“Hey Baby”

“North Star”

“Turn Up”

For more information, please visit www.MackAvenue.com.

Hitman Darren Rahn seeks maximum impact with “Sonic Boom”

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Hitman Darren Rahn seeks maximum impact with “Sonic Boom”

The saxophonist’s fifth album, due March 4, will have an exclusive world premiere on February 27; 

dynamic first single, “D-Luxe,” explodes onto radio playlists.

DENVER (24 February 2016): Whether it’s with a devastating jazz-funk workout, nasty R&B groove, bellowing gospel soul call or an emotionally-intense melody, saxman Darren Rahn is hitting and hitting hard on “Sonic Boom,” his fifth album and first for Woodward Avenue Records, which is releasing the recording March 4. Responsible for crafting 25 No. 1 singles, Rahn, who produced and wrote all nine originals on the ten tracker, is virtually guaranteed to add to that total with the combustible new set on which he trades blows with chart-toppers Rick Braun, Jonathan Fritzen and Julian Vaughn as well as Rico Wint (vocals) and Robin Eubanks (trombone). The multiple GRAMMY® nominee’s new offering is already off to a powerful start with radio programmers making the lush, horn-ignited “D-Luxe” the No. 1 most-added single on the Billboard BDS chart.           

Undaunted by his successes as a solo artist as well as a producer, songwriter and engineer behind some of the biggest instrumental hits by marquee artists over the past decade, Rahn changed his approach on “Sonic Boom” in an effort to elevate his sound, technique and unique artistic expression.  On previous releases, he orated through tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, but elected to play tenor exclusively on the forthcoming album to define a singular voice. The record plays and is paced like a live show with each song having a cold ending as opposed to a studio fade. Rahn’s production sounds live and warm, aided in part by his decision to use only real drums, another first. His melody-rich material comes straight from the heart sounding grand and luminous, packing a wallop with potent hooks that are passionately performed. The outing also serves as a showcase for Rahn’s proficiency as a multi-instrumentalist – the sax player also plays piano, keyboards, Hammond organ, vocals, EWI and synth programming on “Sonic Boom.” He makes it a family affair by inviting his brother, Jason Rahn, to play trumpet, flugelhorn and guitar and coaxes his wife, Priscilla, to play flute on the lone cover, a rapturous “Rock With You.” Guitarist Allen Hinds and bassist Mel Brown maintain constant presences on the disc while several drummers (Anthony Steele, Tarell Martin and Anthony Jones) pound out the beats. Vaughn fills in admirably for the late bassist Wayman Tisdale on “Losing You,” a moving musical tribute penned by Rahn for his frequent collaborator and departed friend.        

“The idea behind ‘Sonic Boom’ is about real music – inspired music – created with real musicians playing real instruments and presented in a way that plays much like a live set. I wanted to condense my personality down to the very core to concisely express the essence of who I am as an artist. Drawing from the assorted musical styles that form my musical personality and saxophone playing – jazz, funk, R&B, soul, pop, rock, gospel and fusion – I wanted ‘Sonic Boom’ to reflect the diversity of my musical influences and history while at the same time flowing and working as a cohesive collection. In an era when music is often created by taking shortcuts, it was my desire to use the finest analog and digital studio equipment and state-of-the-art techniques while gathering as many of the best studio session players as possible. I wanted to create something that would provide the listener with a truly amazing listening experience, sounding full, warm, punchy, luxurious and exciting. My hope is that people will genuinely be impacted by the music, that it will bring joy and encouragement,” said Rahn about “Sonic Boom,” which will premiere in its entirety on Saturday, February 27 at 10am PT/1pm ET on the SmoothJazz.com site.

The British Columbia native who calls Denver home issued his solo debut, “Soulful,” in 2004. That same year, Rahn produced Tisdale’s No. 1 signature smash “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.” He hit full stride as an artist and producer in 2009 when his “Talk of the Town” reigned supreme at No. 1 on the Billboard chart at about the same time he produced No. 1 hits for Dave Koz, Eric Darius and Tim Bowman. During one particular period of chart domination, he occupied the top three spots and later had four singles in the top 10 simultaneously. Rahn earned GRAMMY® nominations for his work on a pair of Koz albums (“Hello Tomorrow” and “Summer Horns”). His meticulously-constructed sonicscapes have made his deft touch highly sought after, affording him the opportunity to work with Bob James, Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, Jonathan Butler, Najee, Toby Keith, Jeffrey Osborne, Phil Perry, Nick Colionne and Lebron as well as Fritzen and Vaughn. For more information, please visit www.DarrenRahn.com or www.WoodwardAvenueRecords.com      

The songs contained on “Sonic Boom” are:

“D-Luxe”

“Sonic Boom”

“Funk Avenue”

“Losing You” (For Wayman)

“Together…Forever…”

“Altered Ego”

“101 One”

“Rock With You”

“Sunday Soul”

“Promises” (For Priscilla)

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Jazz royalty “Open Up” “The Vault” to help departed friend’s family‏

Jeff Golub

Jazz royalty “Open Up” “The Vault” to help departed friend’s family

New single from the late guitarist Jeff Golub debuts in the Billboard Top 20

ahead of Tuesday’s album release with sales benefitting The Golub family.   

New York City (31 March 2015): A few days prior to New Year’s Day, the day guitarist Jeff Golub passed away at age 59, his frequent collaborators Steven Miller, Rick Braun and Bud Harner put the finishing touches on Golub’s 13th solo album, “The Vault,” a collection of previously unreleased songs and reimagined early career gems that were redecorated with the assistance of some of the artist’s high-profile musician friends. Everyone involved with creating the album that was released today by eOne Music – musicians, producers, songwriters, engineers, mixers, mastering, graphic artists, etc. – donated their time to the project so that all of the money generated by record sales can go to Golub’s family.

One of the new cuts, “Open Up,” featuring the soulful Golub boisterously shredding over a trademark jazzy blues-rock groove produced by Jeff Lorber, debuted last week in the Top 20 of Billboard’s smooth jazz singles chart boding to become the next addition to the artist’s catalogue of No. 1 singles.

“The Vault” is just the latest rallying of the music community to aid Golub, who succumbed to complications from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare, incurable and aggressive brain disease. Although he wasn’t officially diagnosed until last November, PSP stole his vision in the spring and summer of 2011. An all-star contingent played a sold-out benefit concert that autumn in Southern California to raise money to cover medical expenses. Golub’s motor skills rapidly began to deteriorate while touring in 2013 in support of his final set of all new material, “Train Keeps A Rolling,” and eventually left him unable to play his beloved instrument. After his passing, nearly two dozen prominent recording artists gathered January 21 near the guitarist’s New York City home to play a sold-out tribute benefit concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. Many of the musicians who appeared on that high-wattage bill perform on “The Vault,” including Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot, Bill Evans, Philippe Saisse, Steve Ferrone and Braun. Additional album contributors were hitmen Gerald Albright, Brian Culbertson, Euge Groove, Boney James and Peter White.

The ten-track “The Vault” consists of vastly different versions of seven Golub songs harvested from seminal album releases that were given a fresh twist by the guest artists personally selected by Golub; a soul-stirring live version of the Golub classic “Naked City”; and two previously unreleased selections, “Open Up” and the Saisse-produced “Swagster,” a sweltering swing sparked by Golub’s scalding guitar and Whalum’s impassioned sax wails.

To help set the stage for “The Vault,” SmoothJazz.com hosted the world premiere of the record on March 28 along with interviews with the guest artists and producers. Last Sunday’s (March 29) episode of Koz’s radio show that airs nationally on SiriusXM’s Watercolors was devoted to the album spotlighted by interview segments with Abair and Braun, and played multiple tunes from the disc. On April 15, SiriusXM’s Watercolors will broadcast the entire Golub all-star tribute concert.

Golub began his career as an ace guitar slinger alongside superstars Rod Stewart, Billy Squier, Peter Wolf and Tina Turner before launching his own chart-topping band, Avenue Blue, leading to his star-making solo career. The Akron, Ohio native is survived by his wife Audrey Stafford Golub, and sons Matthew (14) and Chris (12).

“The Vault” contains the following songs:

“Funky Is As Funky Does”

“One More Excuse To Play The Blues”

“Open Up”

“Gimmie Some”
“Swagster”

“Keep The Ball Rolling”

“Jeff’s Blues (Mama Didn’t)”

“Groanin”

“Atlanta Nights”

“Naked City” (Live)

For additional information about Golub, go to http://jeffgolub.com.

“A BETTER MAN”……HE IS PHIL PERRY

With a career spanning 46 years, Phil Perry encapsulates what it is to be “A Better Man.” The vision for his latest album is simple yet powerful, and it stems from realizing that at this point in his life, he still has room to grow into more than he is. Perry says he wanted the album to “touch on different facets of relationships, from different perspectives, be informative, enlightening, but entertaining as well.” Having an understanding of the importance of being “audience inclusive,” he has always been able to capture and engage listeners. The romanticism heard throughout the entire album is sure to warm the hearts of fans old and new. Taking this journey with Phil is his longtime friend and colleague, Chris “Big Dog” Davis. Together, they created a collection of eight original songs, two covers, and sailed into romance paradise. Phil invited Kim Waters, Rick Braun, and Howard Hewett to collaborate on the project, as well. Collectively, the album is intimate and romantic with a twist of old school and infused with heartfelt sentiments.

Listen to the “hopeless romantic at heart” talk about how he believes in love:

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New Yorkers come to Golub’s aid one final time‏

Golub

 

New Yorkers come to Golub’s aid one final time

January 21 all-star concert planned to memorialize the guitarist and benefit his family sells out. 

New York City (13 January 2015): When the newly blind guitarist Jeff Golub stumbled and fell onto New York City subway tracks where he was clipped and dragged by a train in 2012, New Yorkers came to his aid. When word spread throughout the New York City music community last month that Golub was on his death bed, New Yorkers bought concert tickets to the January 21 all-star benefit concert put together by Marquee Concerts and Smooth Jazz New York in order to raise money for Golub’s family. Although Golub succumbed to complications from a rare degenerative brain disease on New Year’s Day turning next week’s event at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill in Times Square into a memorial show, New Yorkers scooped up the remaining tickets to make sure the concert that will feature performances by more than two dozen luminaries sold-out to provide maximum assistance to Golub’s family.

At the time of the subway scare, which was chronicled extensively in the New York media, Golub dismissed the incident that he was lucky to escape with only minor scrapes and bruises as “stupid blind guy stuff.” However, losing his vision the year before due to collapsed optic nerves turned out to be a harbinger of a far more serious problem for the Akron, Ohio-born musician who has called New York City home since the 1970s. Golub began struggling with his balance and speech during a 2013 national concert tour in support of his final album, the playfully titled “Train Keeps A Rolling,” that adversely impacted his ability to perform. It got to the point that management had to pull Golub off the road. The guitarist’s motor skills continued to deteriorate, but it wasn’t until last November that he was finally diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), an incurable and aggressive brain disease.

Known for playing with soulful intensity and a bluesy touch, Golub’s diverse resume boasts longtime stints as a sideman to Rod Stewart, Billy Squier, Peter Wolf and Tina Turner as well as a 20-year solo recording career as a chart-topping contemporary jazz artist thus the lineup for the memorial benefit concert will present a multi-genre lineup of Grammy winners, nominees and hit-makers. Slated to take the stage are (in alphabetical order) Mindi Abair, Rick Braun, Randy Brecker, Henry Butler, Christopher Cross, Mark Egan, Richard Elliot, Bill Evans, Steve Ferrone, Euge Groove, Dave Koz, Chuck Loeb, Chieli Minucci, Philippe Saisse, Kirk Whalum and over a dozen more musicians.

Last Thursday (January 8), Whalum presided over Golub’s funeral held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture where a throng of artists and the city’s busiest session players gathered to pay tribute to the late guitarist, his wife Audrey Stafford Golub, and sons Matthew (14) and Chris (12). Among the many performers filling the ceremony with heartfelt song were John Waite, Marc Cohn, Whalum and Cross.

Although tickets to the memorial concert are gone, those who wish to contribute to Golub’s family can by sending a check made out to Jeff Golub Medical Expenses and mailed to:

Judy Miller

PO Box 115

Boxford, MA 01921

For more information about the memorial concert produced by Marquee Concerts, please visit http://marqueeconcerts.com/events/jazz and for additional information about Golub, go to http://jeffgolub.com.

PETER WHITE MAKES ME “SMILE”

If you want to lift your spirits and feel incredibly good, then sit back, relax, and listen to Peter White’s new CD, “Smile.” It is a bountiful collection of soul-stirring songs that will have you pressing repeat. Although “Smile” is Peter’s 14th album, and his career has spanned 40 decades, he remains driven by his fans’ appreciation for his music. When asked if he had a formula for making an album, his response was, “I have to be moved”–by the music that is. Peter reached into his vault of previously written songs to create this masterpiece. “Smile” has lots of personal touches that make it extraordinarily special for many reasons–one of them being that White was joined by some of his dear friends in music: Rick Braun, Mindi Abair, Euge Groove, Philippe Saisse, Nate Phillips, Ramon Yslas, Stevo Theard, and his daughter, Charlotte. Furthermore, it includes a song for the birthday of a friend’s daughter (Jordan), a song in honor of Barry White, and a tribute to Mason Williams. “Smile” has a song for everyone and is sure to be a fan favorite.

Peter and I chat about music, fans, and his superpower:

Peter White

Peter White