If you've ever seen Rick Braun perform, you know what a high-energy entertainer he is. But ask him to talk about his career and the gregarious, charismatic musician-songwriter-producer becomes visibly uncomfortable and awkwardly quiet. “The collective moments are one big unfolding story that’s still not done. I just sit back and be grateful to still be making music with friends,” says the humble trumpeter-flugelhorn player-vocalist, a consistent chart-topper who has amassed a catalogue of No. 1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and radio hits throughout his solo career that began in earnest in 1992.
One of those memorable moments for Braun occurred twenty years ago at influential Los Angeles radio station 94.7 The Wave with friend and fellow contemporary jazz star Peter White. The two had a hit from Braun’s 1994 breakthrough release Beat Street entitled “Club Harlem,” a horn and nylon string guitar duet. It was a track that came at a time when both artists were being propelled from being first-call sidemen to solo recording artists. Braun recalls turning to his frequent collaborator and asking, “How long do you think we’ll be able to keep doing this?”
Looking at his diverse, award-winning career that spans jazz, pop and rock, the Allentown PA native says, “There have been many great moments with so many great artists in the studio and live.” Co-writing the Top 20 pop hit “Here With Me” for REO Speedwagon was his entry, and the gifted horn player became a highly-respected sideman touring and recording with Rod Stewart, Sade, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole and Tom Petty, before committing to his solo career in 1994. Braun's fifteenth and latest solo CD, released in 2014, is Can You Feel It.
Braun has not only crafted his own definitive hits that have been radio staples since the ‘90s, but he’s produced No. 1 hits for David Benoit, Marc Antoine and former Rod Stewart band sidekick Jeff Golub. He’s achieved collaborative success on massive hits with Boney James, as a member of RnR with saxman Richard Elliot, and with BWB, a powerhouse trio completed by Grammy® winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown. His enthusiasm for collaboration carries over to his concert schedule. Not only is he a popular headliner on his own, but Braun regularly shares the spotlight touring with BWB and as part of Jazz Attack, comprised of the trumpeter along with Peter White and Euge Groove.
Well into his third decade of making the strings sing with his very own sweet Chicago soul, it's no surprise Nick Colionne has sustained chart-topping radio history.
Twice awarded "Best Live Performance" at the Jazz Trax Catalina Island Jazz Festival, Colianne is the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award for his work in the community and mentoring children, and the 2007 International Instrumentalist of the Year Award, and he was a nominee for the 2010 American Smooth Jazz Guitarist and Entertainer of the Year awards.
Colionne's incredible live performances, infused with his unique and souful styling of jazz, funk, R&B, and blues, along with his rich vocals and engaging stage personality, have made him a force to be reckoned with.
On his latest Trippin ´N´ Rhythm album The Journey, Nick takes stock of his extraordinary career, the wonderful musicians he´s played with, the people he´s entertained, and the amazing places he´s traveled. It´s taken "The Best Dressed Man in Jazz" to great heights recently, as the three Top 5 singles from Influences led him to be named Billboard´s #5 Artist of the Year for 2015. Nick keeps the forward momentum going with the infectious and grooving title track and lead single from The Journey. Upon its recent release, it earned a "#1 Most-Added" designation on iTunes and Billboard, and quickly reached #1 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz and Groove Jazz Music charts.
Brian Culbertson, an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer who crosses genres between contemporary jazz, R&B, and funk and heralds from the musically rich city of Chicago, makes his Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend debut supported by his entire high energy band.
Starting at the early age of 8 on piano, Brian quickly picked up several other instruments by age 12 including drums, trombone, bass, & euphonium. Inspired by the great R&B/Jazz/Pop artists of the 70’s like Earth Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, Chicago, David Sanborn, and others, Brian Culbertson started composing original music for his 7th grade piano recital and hasn’t stopped, having self-produced 16 solo albums, most of which have topped the Billboard charts.
Brian is always striving to push the boundaries of the contemporary jazz scene which is evident by his latest album, Funk! This new set is a throwback to the stanky P-Funk records from back in the day combining the throbbing bass lines, greasy horn lines, sing-a-long choruses and landing hard on the ‘One.’
Florida-native saxophonist, composer, producer, and vocalist Eric Darius likes to play by his own rules. Fearlessly pushing all musical boundaries, he is one of the most exciting musicians to enter the Contemporary Jazz scene in the last decade. His explosive arrival as a recording artist at the age of 17 caused a frenzy worldwide! Now, with six critically acclaimed albums under his belt, a Number One hit single, and Seven Top 10 radio hits on Nielsen’s R&R/Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts, international recording artist Eric Darius’ star continues to rise straight to the top.
Prophetically hailed Debut Artist of the Year by Smooth Jazz News in 2004, Eric has shared the stage with innumerable world renowned, Grammy Award-winning artists, such as Prince, Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, David Foster, Carlos Santana, Babyface, Wynton Marsalis & George Benson, just to name a few. His music innovatively crosses over all music boundaries from Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, to Pop, creating a very distinctive, fresh sound and approach that is uniquely his own.
Throughout Eric’s young but already dynamic career, he’s had the tremendous opportunity to travel and perform worldwide with numerous groups. Even as a high school student at Blake High School of the Performing Arts in Tampa and as a college student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he had the fortune to travel internationally at such a young age. “My goal is to really help bridge the generational gap and make music that has infinite possibilities,” concludes Eric.
With the release of of his latest CD Retro Forward, Eric Darius is building bridges, forging new paths and ensuring that his heartfelt, organic and honest approach to the music will stand the test of time. Whether he’s being featured on FOX’s hit TV show, The X Factor, or TNT’s hit drama series, Mob City, Eric’s presence is definitely being felt in the entertainment world. He continues to be an artist that knows no boundaries and a force that is unequalled in today’s musical landscape.
Over the years, Peter White has maintained a reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists on the contemporary jazz landscape. Armed with an unparalleled combination of lyricism and energy, the artist born in Luton, a small town north of London, combines elements of jazz, pop and classical guitar to create a sound that is singular and at the same time accessible to a broad audience.
In a career that spans nearly four decades, over a dozen solo recordings and countless performances, White insists that it’s the faces in the crowd and the fans that keep the experience fresh. “I’ll play a live show, and someone will come to me afterward and say, ‘Oh, I loved this CD,’ or ‘This song helped me through a bad time,’” he explains. “Or I get emails from people saying, ‘Oh, I love the way you covered one of my favorite songs on your record back in 1994.’ The idea that someone can write me an email and tell me about something I did on a record that was released over 20 years ago – you can’t buy that. That’s priceless. That’s what keeps me going – the idea that people out there really care about what I do, the idea that I’ve made a difference for someone."
Peter’s latest CD, Groovin’ is his 3rd collection of classic songs from the 60s and 70s and features guest soloists Rick Braun on trumpet and Vincent Ingala on saxophone. His take on these well-known songs is fresh and exhilarating. “My goal is to present these songs in a way that reflects my style and at the same time remind people of this great era of songwriting!”
The Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend is excited to present one of the fastest emerging contemporary jazz recording artists, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, rising star Vincent Ingala. Vincent has blasted into an exciting stratosphere of his own since his 2010 critically acclaimed debut album, North End Soul. Still in his early twenties, the charismatic saxophonist has been named Billboard Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year in 2012, Sirius XM Watercolors Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2013, and his music is consistently found atop the most noteworthy music charts in the world, including three number one hits on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Chart, and six singles in the Billboard Smooth Jazz Top 10.
As much of an entertainer as a musician, the Yamaha Performing Artist has been wowing live audiences as his fun-loving stage presence, combined with an obvious passion for playing, elevates the crowd to an exciting frenzy!
His third album, 2015’s Coast To Coast, has placed Vincent Ingala back on top, with the project’s first and second singles hitting number one on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. The star-studded, horn-drenched new album finds Vincent vibing with british jazz trombonist, Dennis Rollins (of BadBone & Co.), Lee Thornberg (formerly of Tower Of Power), and smooth jazz icon, Peter White.
An “old soul,” as he’s often referred to, Vincent possesses a deep knowledge and appreciation for all genres of music. His versatility on multiple instruments makes him sought after both as a live performer and as a producer in the studio. This coast-to-coast sensation brings a playful spirit, old soul, and youthful enthusiasm to contemporary jazz, with a real sense for what music fans are seeking, from recordings to live performances.
Bassist Tim George was raised in Manhattan, Kansas where he began playing the drums at age 6 but was always drawn to the sound of the bass. One day in a garage band jam session, there were too many drummers but no bass players, and the rest is history! Graduating with a Music Education degree from Kansas State University studying classical acoustic bass, Tim has been teaching elementary school music in Pinellas County, Florida for almost 30 years when not playing music professionally. Some of the artists that he has performed with include Mel Torme, Ray Charles, Bobby Caldwell, Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Kim Waters, Mindi Abair, Nick Colionne, Euge Groove, Paul Taylor and Peter White. Music has always been a driving force in Tim's life and that force is as strong as ever.
Guitarist Randy Jacobs was born in San Francisco and raised in Detroit where he learned to play guitar and bass, but now calls Los Angeles his home. Randy has performed and/or recorded with numerous artists, including Seal, BB King, Tears for Fears, Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Mindi Abair, Brian Simpson, Peter White, Euge Groove, the Staple Singers, Bonnie Raitt, Brook Benton, Ron Banks and the Dramatics, Alicia Myers, Ray Parker and Raydio, Richard Elliot, Warren Hill, Michael Henderson, the Boneshakers, Don Was and Was (Not Was), Willie Nelson, Paula Abdul, and many more. When not out on the road or on The Smooth Jazz Cruise electrifying audiences with his unique style of guitar, Randy's hobbies include spending quality time with his girl and basketball.
Drummer Dave Reinhardt was born in Washington, DC and lived there until moving with his family (and brother Ron) to his current home of Clearwater, Florida prior to the 8th grade. Touring with Richard Elliot for over 10 years, Dave has also performed with other numerous contemporary jazz artists, including Peter White, Rick Braun, Mindi Abair, Jeff Golub, Euge Groove, Paul Taylor, Steve Cole, Jackiem Joyner, Nick Colionne and Jeff Kashiwa, and has played on countless studio sessions. Dave's versatility has also enabled him to perform with other diverse artists such as Nat Adderley, Jeff Berlin, Slash (of Guns 'n' Roses), Chick Corea and Rick Derringer.
Keyboardist and Musical Director Ron Reinhardt was born in Salisbury, MD and currently resides north of Tampa, Florida. Ron has had the good fortune of working with virtually everyone in the Smooth Jazz world (including his brother Dave) and has been a member of Richard Elliot's band since 1992, touring throughout the world. A well-recognized musician on The Smooth Jazz Cruise, he has worked with artists including David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, George Duke, Wayman Tisdale, Chris Botti, Candy Dulfer, Rick Braun, Peter White, Mindi Abair, Euge Groove, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, Nick Colionne, Jeff Golub, Warren Hill, Paul Taylor, Eric Darius, Craig Chaquico, Marc Antoine, Rick Derringer, Jeff Berlin and many others. In the late 80's and early 90's, Ron toured with Donny Osmond and served as Music Director in 1990-2 before joining Richard Elliot. His song "Sly," which appeared on Elliot's 2004 Ricochet CD, reached #2 on the national R&R Chart, and Ron's current solo CD, aptly entitled From The Shadows, was released in 2012.