On this page, I will highlight a couple of my favorite, all-around artists in the genre of Contemporary Jazz. There are many artists who could be featured here, but I must make tough decisions. You may have some artists in mind that I didn't put on here. Believe me when I say that I probably had some of those same artists in my mind. I will try to update this page from time to time to get a variety of musicians on this page. So, maybe you'll find your favorite soon.
: Rick Braun and Richard Elliot
Rick Braun is a native of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The trumpet was his third instrument choice growing up - the drums were his first and the violin his second choice. But, according to Braun, the trumpet was easier on the ears of his family. I am thankful for his family brcause he has turned out to be one of the greatest trumpet players ever; he's up there with Miles Davis.
All through school, music has been the driving force in Rick Braun's life. After high school, he attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music. While attending this school, he formed a jazz-fusion group named Auracle. This group soon disbanded. In addition to being a musician, he was a songwriter. It was in this endeavor that he got his first break. He wrote the song "Here With Me," by REO Speedwagon, which hit the Billboard Top 20.
Braun has had a wonderful musical career. He has toured with such stars as Sade, Phoebe Snow, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Tom Petty, Natalie Cole, Glenn Frey, War and probably others. After joining Mesa/Bluemoon, Rick released solo albums. In 1993, he realeased his first solo album - Intimate Secrets. In 1994, he released Night Walk. Night Walk was influenced heavily by his times with Sade. In 1995, he released Beat Street (a wonderful CD). Beat Street was influenced by his times with War. In 1997, Braun released his classic album, Body & Soul.
Rick Braun has reintroduced the trumpet - he has proven that you don't have to play a saxophone to play smooth, sexy, wonderful music. I hope he continues to put out wonderful music for years to come.
Music has always been a part of Richard Elliot's soul. Growing up, Elliot was a devout fan of rhythm and blues. Unbelievable, but as a teenger, Elliot toured Europe backing up Natalie Cole and The Pointer Sisters. Afterwards, he joined he joined a fusion ensemble named Kittyhawk. Richard Elliot did some studio work with some of the all-time greats: The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and The Four Tops. His next break came with the Yellowjackets. In 1982, he joined The Tower of Power, with whom he played for 5 years. Elliot referred to these years as the most influential years of his career.
In 1987, Elliot decided to go solo, releasing his first album on Enigma Records. He would release 4 more records under this label. He would go on to release 5 more titles (so far) under the Metro Blue/Blue Note label. His lates release, Jumping Off is his 10th solo release.
Richard Elliot is very soulful, sexy sax player. Every tune he belts out has feeling to him. I could tell this when I went to see him perform. I have seen many jazz shows, and the Sax and Guitars show with Marc Antoine, Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler and Richard Elliot was the greatest show I have ever seen. Elliot was the star of the show. He is very energetic and goes out of his way to make sure everyone enjoys the show. He's a must see!