Performing Sunday, July 9
Having embarked upon one of instrumental music’s most dynamic and multi-faceted career, Richard Elliot’s sound has played a huge part in pioneering the genre and radio format that became today’s contemporary urban jazz.
Born in the Scottish highlands and transplanted to Los Angeles at the age of three, he primarily grooved to R&B and was smitten with the Motown sound. As a teenager, he was taken by the tenor sax and found himself capable of expressing his own musical voice through it.
His early career included touring with Natalie Cole and Yellowjackets and recording sessions with Motown soul heavyweights like Smokey Robinson and The Temptations.
While touring with Tower of Power, he released his debut solo album Trolltown and the success of that album encouraged him to go solo. His subsequent career has been nothing short of phenomenal.
His numerous #1 albums include On The Town, Soul Embrace, After Dark and Jumpin’ Off and he has held a consistent presence at the top of the Billboard and NAC charts. Elliot has also enjoyed the distinction of having two releases chart simultaneously; Chill Factor remained on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart for over 94 weeks, 26 weeks simultaneously with the greatest-hits collection, The Best of Richard Elliot.
His most recent recording, Summer Madness, inspired Richard to want to tour with a three-piece horn section and a supporting cast of musicians. He reached out to his long-time collaborator, Rick Braun, and guitarist Norman Brown to join him in creating West Coast Jam, a wall of sound that will be funky and rocking.
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.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, GRAMMY® Award winner Norman Brown first picked up a guitar at the age of eight. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s mind-bending rock sounds, Brown soon discovered his father’s favorite artist, Wes Montgomery, and found his stylistic holy grail. After high school, Brown moved to Los Angeles to pursue his musical career, attending the Musicians Institute where he also taught for a time. While playing with his own group in local clubs, and drawing comparisons to George Benson, Brown was discovered and signed to the MoJazz label, a division of Motown. He delivered his 1992 debut, Just Between Us, and followed with the gold-certified After The Storm and 1996’s Better Days Ahead.
With critical acclaim and sales behind him, the talented musician made the leap to Warner Bros. and released Celebration, which first teamed him with producer Paul Brown. The 2003 followup, Just Chillin’, earned Brown much-deserved recognition with a GRAMMY® Award in the best pop instrumental category. That project was followed by his 2005 release West Coast Coolin’, where Brown tested out his skills as a vocalist, a move that was welcomed by the urban AC radio market. In addition, his 2005 compilation The Very Best Of Norman Brown was one of the best-selling smooth jazz albums of that year.
Brown made the leap to the Peak Records label, a division of Concord Music Group, in 2007 for his smash CD Stay With Me, which yielded the R&B vocal hit “Stay With Me” and the smooth instrumental favorites “Let’s Take A Ride” and “Pop’s Cool Groove.” The guitarist kept the good vibes going on his long-awaited June 2010 release, Sending My Love.
In addition to success as a musician and producer, Brown launched a successful career as a broadcaster. In January of 2007, he brought his engaging personality to Broadcast Architecture’s Smooth Jazz Network as an on-air personality, hosting this own weekend radio show.