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Tom Browne: R’n’Browne

Trumpeter Tom Browne offers a modern urban twist on some soulful classics with R’n’Browne (Hip Bop HIBD 8020; 52:19), a finely crafted, detailed effort. Browne’s retro-to-modern vibe is expressed best on tunes like “Back to Life,” which he reinvents as a bass and piano-driven, hard-bustling funk romp. Mysterious, smooth harmonies swing the familiar vocal refrain as an otherworldly chant. A similar mystery element is present in Browne’s read on Frankie Beverly’s “Joy and Pain,” which pits a big beat hip-hop chug rhythm against Browne’s lithe, free flowing and somewhat artsy trumpet play. Browne works a gentler retro-style on a pair of reverent ballads-beautiful full-horn orchestration sets off the masterful alto of Dianne Reeves perfectly for “Someday We’ll Be Free,” and light acoustic guitar augments Browne’s musing flugelhorn melody on “Un-Break My Heart” for a bittersweet reflective feel. The trumpeter may save the most unusual treat for last, however, with a puff of modern psychedelia on Jimi Hendrix’s immortal “The Wind Cries Mary,” fanned by a unique wah-effect electric trumpet and spindly Fender Rhodes.

Originally Published