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"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Rick Braun

Gregg Karukas Jazz MusicianSmitty: Joining me for the first time with Jazz Monthly, one of the top horn players in the genre, he has a fantastic new CD called Yours Truly. Please welcome ARTizen Music Recording artist Rick Braun, how you doin’ Rick?

Rick Braun (RB): Pretty good Smitty, How are you?

Smitty: Great, thank you! I’m still trying to catch up from the All Star Smooth Jazz Cruise.

RB: That was fun huh? That was a lot of fun man; it was great to hang with you.

Smitty: Likewise, we really had a blast.

RB: Me too.

Smitty: I think we should do more of those kinds of festivals. I hope that it’s a prevailing trend of the future because it’s a totally different vibe, and such an elevation of fun.

RB: Yes, it’s really fun and its a good thing for the fans, and I’m just glad that fans are into something like that. I think it’s a wonderful way to keep interest in this music going well into the future.

Smitty: Yes, you certainly have had a busy year, the Jazz Attack tour, the new label, a new record…..

RB: Well it’s been a pretty hectic year with starting the record company, the release of Richard Elliot’s new CD, and the release of my new CD, and both of those are initial offerings on the new record company ARTizen. So, it’s been a very busy year and we signed another new artist, we signed Shilts from Down To The Bone, so I’m working on his CD.

Smitty: Wow, it looks like its going be exciting for the next couple of years at least, with all of the new music coming out and all the activities surrounding that. That’s great.

RB: I’ve definitely got my dance card full. (Both laughing)

Smitty: That’s for sure. Now you’ve been a busy man for quite some time. Just looking back on your career, you’ve always been busy, so it must be something that you enjoy, being busy, making music and just being a part of the whole music scene.

RB: Yes, I mean, I wear a lot of different hats, and each one of those hats takes up a certain amount of time to get the job done; I’m a recording artist, I’m a producer, I’m a touring act, I’m a Dad, a husband. Those are the things that really are at the top of the list, being a good dad and a good husband so…

Smitty: Yes.

RB: Trying to balance things together takes a lot of energy.

Smitty: Yes it does, and a lot of planning.

RB: Yes.

Smitty: Indeed, priorities are important. It’s also impressive that at the early part of your career, Rick, you’re composing songs at ten years old, talk to me man, wow, that had to be pretty cool.

RB: Well you know, I wanted to write songs, but I didn’t really know how to write music, I began to read music pretty early on, because I started to play trumpet when I was 8, but I didn’t really know how to put the melodies down and that sort of thing, but I was improvising; improvising melodies and songs and things like that. It was a very, a humble beginning, but it was a beginning.

Smitty: Yes indeed. It pretty remarkable when you think about starting at that early of an age and then composing or writing a song for Reo Speedwagon and a hit song too. That had to really boost your confidence in your writing skills.

RB: Yes it really did. I mean, I was signed to a publishing company at that time, to Lorimar Music, and I was getting paid to write pop songs, and I was writing and writing and writing and nothing really clicked. They were sending songs out to different artists to try and get them recorded, nobody was jumping on it, but when I hooked up with Kevin Cronin and we really drew on the friendship that we had more than anything, we were playing in some bands together, and some local clubs, and having some good times, and going through similar life experiences. So we teamed up and wrote a song about relationships, and that’s what ended up being “Here With Me” and Kevin was very, very generous and ended up giving me an even split on the song where as he could of leveraged it very hard in his favor, and I really respect him for that, and it’s kind of a model that I’m trying to follow in my own life.

Smitty: Yea and that’s gotta’ be cool. Did you ever go out on tour with them?

RB: I never really toured with them, I recorded with them, I recorded that song, and that’s how we met in the first place and it’s really funny because I was late to recording session…

Smitty: Laughing.

RB: But we ended up being friends out of that, had a great time, and even now, when I run into him. He’s a great guy and Bruce Hall the bass player, they are really great guys.

Smitty: Yes, and great music from back then and that’s still great music today.

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