Release Date:
July 28, 2009

Reviewed by:
Michelle Tauton

You know you’re in for a fun listening experience when the sticker on the cover of the CD case reads “International flavor isn’t just for your coffee anymore.”  Rick Braun’s new CD, All It Takes, is full of international flavor, and will definitely wake you up.

The CD, Braun’s 15th, opens with “Tijuana Dance?” a Latin-influenced fiesta with backing horns that bring to mind old Herb Alpert arrangements from my childhood.  It’s a great, lively opening to the album.  I had that impression before I read the liner notes stating that the song is dedicated to Alpert.  Braun definitely does Alpert tribute and evokes the Tijuana Brass sound impeccably.

“Puerto Allegre Jam” is another samba-esque song, but ever so slightly more mellow than its predecessor.  Braun plays a muted trumpet on this one, and the song features wonderful solos from Philippe Saisse on keyboards and the unmistakable Marc Antoine on nylon string guitar.

“Christiane” slows the tempo down a little more and features Braun on flugelhorn.  Despite the slower tempo, the song is a joyous, uplifting tune that fades into “All It Takes,” a moody tune with just trumpet, drums, keyboards, and just a bit of attitude.  Braun plays his trumpet muted for most of the song, contributing to that smoky, back bar room feeling, but then removes the mute for a brief interlude that adds a lushness to the song before returning with the mute.

The tempo picks up again with “She’s the One,” with Braun returning to flugelhorn.  “I Got Your Back,” another fun, up-tempo piece, features some great backing horns by Richard Elliott on sax and Nick Lane on trombone.  “Ever Changing World” has Braun shadowing himself on both muted and non-muted trumpet.  The song starts off slightly moody, but rises to soaring heights.

And then comes the song with my favorite title on the CD – “Sleeveless in Seattle.”  Inspired by James Pankow from the group Chicago, it has a horn line that’s reminiscent of the famous horn lines Chicago played back in their heyday in the ‘70s and early ‘80s.  It’s a very nice tribute.

“Berlin” is an upbeat, pulsing tune with a very catchy melody that I was humming long after I’d put the CD back in its case.  “Freddie Was Here” is dedicated to another one of Braun’s trumpet playing inspirations, Freddie Hubbard.  It’s a low-key, mellow way to end the album.

With All It Takes, the listener gets some mood music, some party music, some international flavor, Rick Braun’s rich trumpet sound, and a whole lot of fun.