Cover Story

RICK BRAUN

Launching a second summer tour this month with Jazz Attack, Rick Braun looks forward to debuting songs from his upcoming dual album with saxman Richard Elliot, a partner in their label venture ARTizen Music Group.

By Jonathan Widran & Melanie Maxwell

Rick Braun is back from finishing a new CD of original music and is now touring with Jazz Attack. Amid all the exciting smooth jazz all-star lineups that toured in 2005, Jazz Attack, featuring genre superstars Braun, Peter White, Richard Elliot and Jonathan Butler, stood out as one of the best ever. Considering the powerful synergy the four create together, it’s easy to see why.

After a summer off, Jazz Attack returns for an encore run throughout festival season, kicking things off this month on Sunday, April 15, at the Seabreeze 106.3 Jazz Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. After playing Saturday, April 21, at the Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and Rhythm & Blues Festival, the foursome will be performing nonstop through late August, with several dates into September.

After a year on the road with his own band, Braun is thrilled to be sharing stages and a tour bus again with his longtime friends and musical compatriots. On April 10, the four will be getting together for few days of intense rehearsal before their Florida date. The band for this year’s tour will include Rayford Griffin on drums, guitarist Dwight Sills, Ron Reinhardt on keyboards and Stan Sargeant on bass.

In addition to playing supercharged new versions of his classic radio hits and longtime audience favorites “Cadillac Slim,” “Notorious” and “Kisses in the Rain,” the trumpet great is looking forward to jamming on a few new tunes from his upcoming dual project with Elliot, tentatively due in late summer. The as-yet-untitled release is the latest from ARTizen Music Group, the independent label owned by Braun, Elliot, their manager Steve Chapman and Al Evers. ARTizen’s roster also includes saxophonists Shilts (who toured with Braun last summer) and up-and-comer Jackiem Joyner.

“We’re sure the show’s going to be at least a little different from last time,” he says with a laugh, “because at our age, two years is a long time and nobody can remember what we did in 2005! Fans think we make it look easy, but we really do need to rehearse to get an idea of what we’re going to present. Even if we know the material by heart, we can’t just jump in front of people and wing it. And, of course, there’s the added challenge of introducing new songs from our new album. But we’re confident the fans will love them because on every tune we worked on, our main criteria was, will it kill live? We’re hoping the energy we created in the studio will translate to the stage.

The complete story can be found in the April edition of Smooth Jazz News.  Click here to subscrbe today. Receive an issue monthly, February through December, for $29.

For more information on Braun, including his complete touring schedule, visit his website, www.rickbraun.com.