Saturday, November 5, 2016

Rick Braun-Night Walk (1994)


It's been a while since I last treated my ears to some nice smooth jazz, and that was the exact notion I had when I spotted the name of Rick Braun while continuing my efforts to get 'R' entries in my music collection up to date. Another of my favorite trumpeters on the contemporary smooth jazz circuit—along with fellow trumpeter Chris Botti—also becomes the second 'Rick' in about as many days to get the spotlight here at "The Music Spectrum". The feature presentation this time is on 1994's "Night Walk", the only album of is that I currently have, all because of the title track that I had fell in love with as soon as I heard it playing on the radio airwaves. Just as the title suggests, the first five minutes of this album is indeed like a casual stroll about the city's nightlife with its seductively sexy groove, spiced up with the flair of the fluttery woodwind that enters the musical fray during the momentary beat breaks. "The Doctor" makes a house call on the second track, and it is, in fact, a very therapeutic song, healing every one of your musical wounds with some exquisitely dazzling piano accompanying the skilled trumpet work of tonight's honorary guest. "Madrid" is your next stop along the "Night Walk". As in Madrid, Spain? Some Spanish flavor to be heard here, perhaps? You will get to enjoy some very calming and soothing ambiance with only the trumpet and a distinctive guitar providing the only other sound and rhythm, respectively. The tempo changes up afterwards on the nicely chilled "Things Change". Here, the trumpet is the most prominent out of all the instruments heard, brilliantly making the music stand out with its cheerful melody in the main chorus. "Fat Jack & Domino": Catchy title, one that tad me thinking about piano legend Fats Domino. A funky cool jam this one is, reminding me of some of that street jazz often heard in those old detective crime movies. "Children Of The Night" and its slightly ethnic, ceremonial feel and its overall intimate coziness makes it a delightful listen. "Neon Dream" is a smooth jazz lover's dream; the chords in some movements brings to mind the BEE GEES classic, "Too Much Heaven". What's so funny about "We'll Be Laughing"? Perhaps just the title itself, although the festive music here will leave you in all smiles. I myself was immediately drawn by the perky up-beat and the fluttery flair flashed by the trumpet. Perhaps the most interesting title out of all these fine selections: "Indians". A Native American hymnal vibe to this one, perhaps? I often like to try guessing what a smooth jazz selection will be like just from the title, as you may have noticed. What you will hear is some pretty suspenseful, unsettling ambiance, one that gives the feeling of traversing over a desolate and sacred ground. "Indians" also serves as the only time during this "Night Walk" where you'll hear any kind of lyrics; the guest male vocalist periodically offers up pieces of suggestive advice that become almost entrance you into a hypnotic state:

1. Night Walk
2. The Doctor
3. Madrid
4. Things Change
5. Fat Jack & Domino
6. Children Of The Night
7. Desire
8. Neon Dream
9. We'll Be Laughing
10. Indians

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