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Till Brönner on “The Good Life”

The underrated trumpeter makes his boldest foray into singing yet

Till Brönner's OKeh debut, "The Good Life"

In Germany he is the biggest-selling native jazz artist in history, and has been for more than a decade. He’s worked with a galaxy of international stars, including Ray Brown, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Mark Murphy, Nils Landgren, Madeleine Peyroux, Luciana Souza, Kurt Elling, Sérgio Mendes, Annie Lennox and Melody Gardot. Major labels woo him: a dozen albums on Verve and, just recently, a move to Sony’s OKeh imprint. Yet trumpeter Till Brönner, 45, remains far too little known on this side of the Atlantic. And although he’s been adding vocals to his albums since the late 1990s, his Stateside profile as a singer is all but nonexistent.

He’s hoping The Good Life, his OKeh debut, will help change that, and rightfully so. Yes, his catalog includes such formidable projects as 2006’s Oceana, featuring Peyroux, Souza and former French first lady Carla Bruni, and 2008’s Rio, with Elling, Gardot, Mendes and Lennox, both produced by Larry Klein. But The Good Life sets a new high-water mark. A collection of mostly standards, with two originals, it is his tightest and most elegant release to date. It is also his least crowded: no special guests, no banks of strings or waves of brass-just Brönner, alternating between trumpet and flugelhorn, with four of the finest players around: pianist Larry Goldings (a frequent collaborator), guitarist Anthony Wilson, drummer Jeff Hamilton and bassist John Clayton, who doubles as arranger. And The Good Life is Brönner’s most committed foray into singing, with approximately half of the 13 tracks including vocals.

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