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Sings With Strings

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Album Review

There is a long tradition of jazz trumpeters putting aside their horns and singing into the microphone, dating back to Louis Armstrong and including Chet Baker, and Rick Braun belatedly joins this confraternity on Sings with Strings. Braun has occasionally added background vocals in his sideman work behind the likes of Rod Stewart and Sade, but this is the first time he has sung upfront. He has enlisted Philippe Saisse to come up with the string charts for this collection of standards and, wisely, brought along his flügelhorn (but not his trumpet) to add to the tracks. Braun certainly doesn't embarrass himself as a singer. He has a light, breathy tenor that marks him as a sort of little brother to Mel Tormé, and he is sufficiently assured to try a few note substitutions and time variations in his warm readings of familiar songs like "Time After Time," "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," and "The Things We Did Last Summer." He is still much more accomplished as an instrumentalist, of course, and the real jazz comes in with his expressive playing, which generally follows the vocals. Saisse comes in here and there, notably adding a lengthy vibes solo to "It's Love." Having established his vocal bona fides, Braun even risks singing in French on "Plus Je T'Embrasse," while sharing the microphone with Jasmine Roy. The album is not the revelation that Chet Baker Sings was, and it does not suggest that Braun should hock his horns. But it is a more than respectable side project.

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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Sings With Strings, Rick Braun
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