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Full Stride

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Album Review

A positive, tongue-in-cheek attitude infuses the trumpeter's Full Stride with a certain balmy optimism that contrasts with the dark moods of most of 1997's Body and Soul — and recalls the deeply grooving, party time atmosphere on his breakthrough Beat Street (1995). His relaxed, fun-seeking attitude is apparent from the start, with the catchy light funk of "A Very Good Thing" recalling the restless spirit of Beat Street's "Marty's Party"; he floats a percussive melody, complete with irresistible pop hooks, over his own tropical vibe harmony (on synth) and Dave Palmer's alternating deep drum groove and insistent high-hat. More Herb Alpert than Miles. Likewise, he teams with keyboardist Brian Culbertson and former Rufus guitarist Tony Maiden (who backs Braun's flügelhorn with an hypnotic clicking wah-wah effect throughout) to reflect the fast-paced street life of "Hollywood and Vine." On "One Love," he combines his muted trumpet with Culbertson's acoustic piano as a harmonic backdrop to a dreamy, swaying flügelhorn melody; the effect is a cool tension beneath a soaring spirit. "China Bath" plays like background music at an Asian massage parlor. Chuck Kentis finds a synth tone that approximates an Oriental stringed instrument, which he touches gracefully behind a gentle conversation by Braun and Peter White's acoustic guitar, all while a bubbly, trip-hop percussion groove rolls in the background. Then there is Moon Calhoun's croaking synth bass backing Braun's give and take with the echoing electric guitar of Bruce Conte. Following the lead of Chet Baker, Braun even doubles his own gentle vocal scat with the horn on "Magic Moment."

Biography

Born: 06 July 1955 in Allentown, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, trumpeter Rick Braun first surfaced as a member of the jazz-fusion outfit Auracle, formed while he was a student at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. After two LPs the group disbanded, and Braun turned to songwriting, scoring a hit with REO Speedwagon's "Here with Me"; in time he directed his focus to contemporary jazz, issuing his solo debut, Intimate Secrets, in 1993. After touring with Sade, he returned in 1994 with Night Walk as well as the seasonal...
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Full Stride, Rick Braun
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