Tom Browne

Consider the songs in our hearts that inspire us toward uplifted continence; melodies that ring out in a manner that is soulful ... even funky! Now think of an artist; an artist who George Benson describes as "joy filled in expressiveness" and "believable in any musical style," topping the jazz and adult contemporary / R & B charts with his kickin' trumpet and rich jazz melodies. That artist ... is trumpeter Tom Browne. Browne began to carve a path for his musical future early on, studying via scholarship under Murray Karpilovsky (principal trumpeter with the NBC Orchestra directed by Arturo Toscanini.) A student at the co-joined High School of Music and Art / Performing Arts in New York (renowned courtesy of the motion picture entitled "Fame,") Browne became a regular on the New York jazz scene and had the fortune of learning first hand from masters like Jimmy Nottingham, Richard Williams, Woody Shaw and Freddie Hubbard. Browne soon played his first pro level performances as sideman to jazz greats Weldon Irvine and Sonny Fortune for which he earned domestic and international recognition. It was no surprist that Downbeat Magazine would single out his "warm trumpet" during the review of Fortunes' 1976 "Infinity Is" album. Then in 1978, Browne led a traditional jazz quintet at the Breezin' Lounge, an uptown New York nightclub indirectly affiliated with George Benson. Through contacts made by Jimmy Boyd, Bensons' former and Brownes' subsequent manager, Browne was offered several solo recording contracts and ultimately signed with Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen on the newly formed GRP Record label. There he recorded six solo projects including several hits. His debut release "Browne Sugar" (1979) dominated the jazz charts for many weeks while "Love Approach" (1980) and "Magic" (1981) each earned gold album status and spawned hits like "Funkin' For Jamaica," "Thighs High" and "Secret Fantasy." Browne went on to win prestigious Billboard honors of Best Instrumentalist, Best Jazz Cross-Over, Best Jazz Artist-Trumpet and Best Jazz Solo Album. In 1986, Browne opted for a label change, primarily because his new found walk as an evangelical Christian redirected much of lyrical expression found in works on the previous labels. A recording was produced for Malaco Records that reflected his inner spirit. That CD was called "No Longer I." While still performing, Brownes primary career path shifted towards another love; commercial aviation. Browne flew for many years as a charter and airline captain, most recently with a FedEx Feeder Company on ATR72 and Fokker F-27 aircraft. Tom Browne re-emerged in a solid recording career in 1994, recording for the Hip-Bop Record Label. There, He released his first in a series of recordings for Hip Bop entitled "Mo' Jamaica Funk." Subsequent releases for the label include "Another Shade of Browne" which features him in a "straight-ahead jazz" setting with Ron Carter, Idris Muhammad and Billy Childs (1996) and "R & Browne" (1999) which received outstanding "Jazziz Magazine" reviews. Tom performs here with label mates Lenny White and Michael Urbaniak. In 2003, Hip Bop released "The Tom Browne Collection" which let the listening audience know that Browne is doing well and playing better than ever! Today, Tom Browne can be found on tour as a solo act with group, or packaged with artists like Roy Ayers, Wayne (Jazz Crusaders) Henderson regularly. His new CD entitled "S' Up" features Fred Wesley and Groove Collective and was released August 31, 2010.

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Fred Wesley

TROMBONE PLAYER: Fred Wesley has no equals in American music. Whether it’s jazz, funk, R&B, blues or other, his solos are always hot. BANDLEADER: From his direction of James Brown’s fabled JBs to today’s Fred Wesley Group, he knows how to choose the best musicians and meld them into tight units that generate mad heat. ARRANGER AND COMPOSER: Some of funk music’s biggest hits by James Brown, the JBs, Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band are living testaments to his skill, as are his soulful jazz compositions such as “For the Elders,” “La Bossa” and “No One.” SIDE MAN: The reliability and fire he’s contributed to bands ranging from the Count Basie Orchestra to the American Idol Band, make him a sure bet in any setting. AUTHOR: His half-century career is a treasure trove of stories, some of which fill the pages of his compelling memoir “Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Side Man.” MUSICOLOGIST AND EDUCATOR: Wesley shares his wealth of musical knowledge and experiences through liner notes, articles and interviews, and with young musicians in settings including classrooms, band rooms and recital halls at colleges and universities worldwide. Born in Columbus, Ga., and raised in Mobile, Ala., Fred Wesley began his professional career as a teenage trombonist with Ike and Tina Turner. He was music director, arranger, trombonist and a primary composer for James Brown from 1968-1975, then arranged and played for Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band. He has played with and arranged for a wide variety of other artists including Ray Charles, Pancho Sanchez, New York Voices, Slide Hampton, Van Morrison, the SOS Band and Cameo, to name a few. Scores of other artists including Janet Jackson and Nas have sampled his work. Since his stint with the Count Basie Orchestra, he has maintained a focus on jazz – playing, recording, writing and promoting it. His solo jazz recordings include “To Someone,” “Amalgamation,” “Comme Ci Comme Ca,” “Full Circle” and “Wuda Cuda Shuda.”

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