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Rick Braun: Crossroads (Shanachie)

A review of the new album from the popular trumpeter

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Rick Braun, Crossroads
The cover of Crossroads by Rick Braun

One of contemporary jazz’s most popular artists, trumpeter Rick Braun has a sound built on a silken, lyrical horn voice, usually set over grooving rhythms. On Crossroads, he doesn’t stray too far from that formula, but he deploys it in a rich variety of contexts.

A collection of stylistically varied originals and covers, Crossroads includes references to (and appearances by) Braun’s family and friends. Braun collaborated on several tracks with keyboardist Philippe Saisse, a longtime friend, and he composed the tune “Me and You” with another friend and frequent collaborator, guitarist Peter White. The laid-back ballad reflects the pair’s genial bonhomie, with White’s guitar responses to Braun’s horn conveying the feeling of old friends chatting. Braun’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” is a joyous, funky jam featuring yet another longtime friend, saxophonist Richard Elliot, who teams with Braun to form a rollicking horn section.

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Lucy Tauss

Lucy Tauss is a New York City-based music journalist and longtime JazzTimes contributor. She is also a radio and audio producer/writer/editor/journalist who covers news, entertainment and everything in between.