On Sonny Fortune's 1976 jazz album "Infinity," DownBeat magazine singled out one performer's "warm trumpet," thus earning national and international recognition for the musician. The trumpet player back then was Tom Browne. This weekend, Browne brings that same sound to the stage at Blues Alley.
These days, Browne carries a B-flat trumpet and a flugelhorn to his gigs, where he performs the solo hits that have made him famous over the years. These include "Browne Sugar," a 1979 release that climbed to the top of the jazz charts and remained there for many weeks. More hits, such as "Love Approach" and "Magic" would earn him gold-album status.
In addition to his jazz performance, Browne also plays a piccolo trumpet, which he uses for classical performances. Consequently, the question begs, how would he describe his musical style?
"Sometimes an outside opinion is better than giving my own opinion of myself," Browne said. "George Benson said one time that I was believable in any style, and that's what I strive for."
|Jean Carne and Tom Browne|
|Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW|
|When: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday|
|Info: $25; 202-337-4141; bluesalley.com|
After a steady career and releases like his 2003 hip bop record, "The Tom Browne Collection," he tours as a solo act with groups or coupled with artists like Roy Ayres and Wayne Henderson (Jazz Crusaders). This weekend, Browne will share the stage with soul vocalist Jean Carne.
"She'll sing and I'll back her up, and she'll do vocals on one of my pieces. It will be like interweaving of our works, an exchange of ideas," said Browne, whose latest CD titled "S'Up" was released Aug. 31, 2010. The album, he says, accurately reflects where he is in his musical career. Once almost exclusively R&B, this CD goes back to his original calling -- jazz material and improvisation.
"I'm most happy just being with people who can play in that realm," he said.