Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Time for R n R: soul-jazz stars Rick Braun & Richard Elliot unite for funky, horn-powered duet album

Album hits stores as the title track is poised to go #1 on the radio chart
The mercury continues to rise from coast to coast as the nation has been hit this summer by a sizzling wave of funk and contemporary jazz courtesy of two of the hottest horn men in the game: trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Richard Elliot. R n R, the album of duets by the luminaries who combined have released 24 albums and are capable of fully stocking a jukebox with their chart-topping hits, arrives in record stores today from the ARTizen Music Group record label with the promise of keeping the party grooving through next summer. The first radio single, the indelible title track that sounds both vintage and fresh, is top 3 and set to pounce on the #1 spot. Braun and Elliot wrote and produced the dozen original funk, R&B, contemporary jazz and pop songs that comprise what is certain to standout as the album event of the year in the genre.

The highly-anticipated collaboration between Braun and Elliot has been brewing for over a decade. Over the years, they’ve toured together and have made appearances on each other’s albums. Three years ago, they partnered with a couple of music industry veterans to create the ARTizen Music Group. It then became a question of “when.” The stars finally aligned earlier this year when the duo entered Braun’s studio to record without any preconceived ideas. They gathered grooves from a variety of sources, such as Jeff Lorber, Rex Rideout and Philippe Saisse, and wrote the melodies as they recorded, which was a unique process for them. Braun and Elliot were backed by a talented collective consisting of Chris Standring, Dwight Sills, Gregg Karukas, Lenny Castro, Ricky Lawson and Nate Phillips. The result is an album rich with spontaneity that exudes the raw, dynamic energy of a live performance.

To help launch the album at retail, Braun and Elliot will be at Borders stores in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC on September 4th & 5th to perform a short set and sign CDs. Braun and Elliot have spent much of the spring and summer co-headlining the perennially successful Jazz Attack concert tour with Jonathan Butler and Peter White, which helped whet fans’ appetites for the new disc. Jazz Attack dates continue through the fall and in between, Braun and Elliot are out individually headlining concert dates with their own bands.

Although the album was just unveiled, critics are already hailing R n R. Soul Tracks declared, “This masterwork of comfortable grooves show(s) conclusively why these are among the gurus of the smooth jazz genre.” All Music Guide stated, “The music…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… With great performances emanating from both Braun and Elliot,

R n R 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.” Smooth Jazz Vibes wrote, “R n R is a feisty collection of horn driven grooves that checks all the right boxes and which is enhanced by a stellar line-up of guest musicians…Succulent, zesty numbers abound and this is typified both by the title track and with ‘Curve Ball’ where Elliot and Braun give each other the space in which to individually shine while still coming together to generate what is in every respect a veritable horn fest.” Urban Network said, “The gentlemen have teamed this year for a soulful duo project featuring the first single/title track ‘R n R,’ which sounds like something the legendary Adderley Brothers might have thrown down in 2007. The duo wax dark and mysterious on the other highlights: ‘Sweet Somethin’,’ ‘The Stranger’ and ‘Down and Dirty.’ Also impressive is the tricky appropriately titled ‘Curve Ball.’”

Jazz Review opened by asking, “Could one expect anything less than perfection from two of the most colossal and prolific names in all of smooth jazz?...this is one album that proves to be worthy of all the accolades it will surely receive. It proves yet again that those at the top of their game are there for a very, very good reason.”

Additional information is available at www.artizenmusic.com, www.rickbraun.com and www.richardelliot.com.

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