Rick Braun

Beat Street

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This good-natured release is a very enjoyable compilation of funk-inflected light jazz that fits Rick Braun's trumpet and flugelhorn around some excellent guitar playing (with lots of wah-wahs on show), steady bass and drums, and supportive keyboards (Braun also contributes the keyboard beds, but this aspect of his production tends not to be showy). Braun and his assorted players (who include Boney James, Jeff Golub and Peter White) have crafted some entertaining melodies that are often built on swaying, sneaky rhythms -- "Cadillac Slim" for one, and the devious "Papa Dee" for another. Braun's liner notes mention War (the band) more than once, and you can certainly pick up that influence this time around. In terms of approach, Braun kept things loose and improvisational for the recording -- no charts, no formalities, just a few ideas and a collaborative impulse that's paid off in the way the album flows together. Nice warm work that sneaks in under the guards.

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