Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rick Braun - Richard Elliot | R n R

When Rick Braun and Richard Elliot formed their contemporary jazz record label, it was a sure bet that the sights and sounds heard from it would be designed to entertain and amaze the legions of fans who have followed their careers since Braun's days with War and Elliot's days with Tower of Power. This revelation is clearly emphasized on their first label collaboration, titled RnR. The music here is stylistically different from the songs they played back in the '70s, yet it flows from their collective musical minds like a natural extension with the same elements of spontaneity, soul, and sex appeal. Each tune is based on a particular rhythmical feel or texture: shuffle, boogaloo, Latin, funk, even 20th century cool and bebop colors. Opening with the title track, "RnR," the ensemble delivers an energetic jam filled with potent beats and horn charts that smoke in unison. "Sweet Somethin'" is a cool jazz gem that features Braun's refined trumpet talk in a conversation with Elliot's sensual saxophone. Braun calls, Elliot responds, and they stylistically bow with more than a nod to the groove. This song is sweet and hot. "The Stranger" is an exotic burner that features the vamp from "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets." With their smoldering riffs improvised around the potent melody, this song is both familiar and fresh. The smash hit "São Paulo" makes its physical debut on this disc, having been a bonus download for fans visiting the artist's website. Breezy and romantic, its Brazilian jazz flavors spice up the act and will have you chillin' in its tropical ambience. With great performances emanating from both Braun and Elliot, RnR is exciting and lively, yet warm, sexy, and mellow. It is in this experimental way that you begin to grasp the depth of their combined signature sounds and the impact it will have on their devoted and new fans alike. Highly recommended.

by Paula Edelstein - allmusic.com

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