Saturday, July 30, 2011


Rick Braun is a swell jazz trumpeter and singer. Clearly, during his formative years, he spent considerable time with Chet Baker’s catalog. Braun is debonair like the great Tony Bennett. Braun is also at home singing timeless oldies and love songs.

Sings with Strings, his fifth album—due out August 2, on Artistry Music—is his first full length vocal album with strings. (The executives at Artistry Music, a sister company of Mack Avenue Records, should have insisted Braun come up with a catchier title.)

The good thing is Braun didn't allow the strings to overwhelm him. The downside is he didn't do anything remotely interesting with the oldies, and the string accompaniment is pretty basic. Singing oldies is a rite-of-passage for jazz singers of Braun's persuasion it seems. 

The man's voice is warm and comforting. And he takes good care of it. It seems unjust to classify Sings with String as run-of-the-mill. But, honestly, that's what this album is.

Braun seemed content leaving well enough alone. His take on Lucky to be Me, Say It, and I've Never Been in Love Before will make you quivering. Unfortunately, those interpretations alone aren't sufficient enough to save Sings with Strings from being run-of-the-mill.
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