Rick Braun – Kisses in the Rain

Kisses In The Rain
Rick Braun
(Warner – 2001)
  by Ricky Miller

On “Kisses in the Rain” I particularly like the remakes. “A Song For You”, an old Leon Russell song featuring Shai on vocals comes off well, although it will probably play more on R&B than new age radio. Bill Wither’s “Use Me” has been done more times than I can count. If ever anyone got PAID from one song, it was Bill. I’m not sure whether I liked this track because I liked Rick’s interpretation or because it’s such a great song that it can stand almost anyone doing it. Sax sidemen Euge Groove and Marty Grebb keep it interesting, adding to the overall groove and interplay with the Braun’s lead. Car Wash 2000 is a very up-tempo take on the movie soundtrack. Almost sounds like Herbie Hancock’s Headhunter in spots.

Although there are a few genuinely enjoyable songs on this CD, I’m a little disappointed on the whole. The tracks are not bad, but the overall effect sounds commercialized, like they were TRYING to create a ‘smooth jazz’ album instead of just producing Rick Braun. Perhaps I expected the music to get incrementally better with each album, and it just stayed the same (which is still good.) With the exception of the title track, most of the tracks are just your normal ‘good smooth jazz on the radio’ tracks. Some of the best songs are the remakes and that speaks loads for Rick’s ability to perform, but leaves the question of song selection open for debate.