Body & Soul, explores an introspective, thoughtful side of Rick Braun's artistry. Funk grooves and irresistible pop melodies still prevail in subtler shades, but Braun reflects maturely on the changes of his life with a collection that pays homage to his ongoing love for more traditional jazz. The result is his most thought-provoking, eclectic and artistically satisfying album to date. While he plays all the keyboard, trumpet and flugelhorn parts on Body and Soul, he's joined by some of the genre's best musicians, who got together at various times in the comfort of Braun's sunny home to record tracks reflective of friends gathering for a smooth sailing jam session. On hand for various tracks are sax star Boney James, guitarists Chris Standring and Jeff Golub, bassist Cliff Hugo, and drummers Dave Palmer and Dave Karasony. Body & Soul kicks off with the album's first single, the dreamy, cool, and seductive "Notorious," which features interplay between Braun and Boney James's horns and was co-produced by Paul Brown (who's produced hits for James as well as Peter White and Sam Riney). Braun gently fuses jazz sensibilities with streetwise seduction on the gently hypnotic "Missing In Venice" before exploring the pulsating edges of night on the spirited retro-soul vibe of "Slick." "Chelsea" is an easily shuffling romantic ode to the section of Manhattan where Jeff Golub lives, while "Long Tall Judy" finds musical soul mates Braun and Golub invoking the ghosts of Lee Morgan and Wes Montgomery in a sparsely arranged, slow burning jazz/blues jam.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran