2017 Artist of the Year - Rick Braun!
Nearly twenty years into his solo career, Rick Braun’s done just about everything, from backing the likes of Rod Stewart and Sade to stepping out into the spotlight as a vocalist and a master of the trumpet and flugelhorn.
The Allentown, Pennsylvania-born Braun began playing music in elementary school, ultimately winding up at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. There he hooked up with like-minded musicians to form a jazz-fusion combo, Auracle.
Braun’s first big break came when he composed “Here With Me,” a Top 20 hit for REO Speedwagon. He soon became a highly regarded pop sideman, touring and recording with the likes of Rod Stewart, War, Sade, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, and Tom Petty.
The trumpeter became a NAC fixture with his debut, Intimate Secrets. His records have ranked in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart with Kisses in the Rain reigning at #1 for 11 weeks and his singles have held the #1 position on the R&R NAC/Smooth Jazz album charts.
The recipient of numerous National Contemporary Jazz Awards, he shared a Best Collaboration award with Boney James for their hit Shake It Up. He also teamed up with Richard Elliot in RnR and their duet project hit #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. A much-in-demand producer, he has delivered #1 radio hits with artists including David Benoit, Marc Antoine and Jeff Golub.
Rick will be performing on Opening Night of the 2017 Festival as part of "West Coast Jam" with Norman Brown and Richard Elliot. This is Rick's only appearance at the 2017 Festival. Opening for WCJ will be Nick Colionne and Eric Darius. To purchase tickets, click HERE.
In February of this year, Rick released his 17th recording as a leader: Around The Horn. The disc includes an adventurous mix of originals as well as exhilarating reinventions of hits by Coldplay, Alicia Keys and Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez. Shanachie (Rick's Label) VP of A&R, Danny Weiss states, “Rick's tone, chops and phrasing link him to the jazz giants of the past. He can hold his own in any setting. Yet, he communicates to a vast audience far beyond the jazz aficionado. His warmth, wit and musical spirit make him a great communicator....and a hit maker!”