There’s a cut on Rick Braun’s new album called “Get Up and Dance,” and while it’s not the title track, that title captures this disc’s spirit perfectly. Braun, a popular smooth-jazz trumpeter/flugelhornist, evokes the sound and spirit of classic ’70s jazz-funk as he and a stellar group of musicians groove their way through an irresistible collection. The actual title track kicks off the set: Lively and high-spirited, it features Braun soloing on trumpet and valve trombone, backed by punchy horns, B3 organ and funk bass. Saxophonist Dave Koz guests on the aforementioned “Get Up and Dance,” a sprightly Latin-tinged number. Braun and Koz demonstrate an easy camaraderie as they form a frontline to establish the melody, then deftly trade solos, musically finishing one another’s sentences.
Singer Elliott Yamin, a finalist on American Idol in 2006, delivers a soulful reading of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River,” the old-school feel of this cover enhanced by a horn section featuring Braun and saxophonists Euge Groove and Brandon Fields. Not every tune on Can You Feel It is uptempo, though. The lush ballad “Another Kind of Blue,” featuring Braun’s warm flugelhorn, could work well as film score, while the midtempo groover “Mallorca” is simultaneously breezy and lyrical.
The closing track, “Dr. Funkenstein,” caps off the album perfectly. An original composition (not a cover of the Parliament tune of the same name), it’s a rollicking funk jam setting Braun’s trumpet and valve trombone and a Tower of Power-style horn section over fiercely grooving bass.