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
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
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.