If there is such a thing as a yardstick to measure smooth jazz by, then trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Richard Elliot will invariably rise to the top of the list as two artists who dominate the charts. Individually, each one in his own right has a high degree of star power and collectively, whenever the two of them get together it is a serious musical jam. On top of that, Richard and Rick have put on their collaborative hats to form ARTizen, a record label that will allow their enhanced creative juices to really flow more fluidly. To hone that point even more so, the two giants have released a CD entitled 'RnR,' which can be considered the hallmark of recordings under the current smooth jazz umbrella.
‘R n R’ is an album that contains the ultra dynamics of Richard’s saxophone as well as the cool diminutive melody of Rick’s lyrical trumpet. There is plenty of hustle and flow as they augment each other’s sound with high velocity funk and smooth grooves. Rhythmically the percussive influences of thumping bass and enticingly hot drums are present on such tracks as "Da JR Funk" and the title track. Melodically, tracks such as "The Stranger" opens a door of opportunity for both artists to weave a web of intimacy as a team. When listening to ‘RnR,’ the first and foremost thought about this recording is that the disc is not single-minded in approach. There are elements of fusion, Latin and soul jazz all rolled into one superb release. It is definitely understandable why individually and dually Rick Braun and Richard Elliot ride such a big wave of enthusiasm with their fan base.
Overall, the CD entitled ‘RnR’ has been greatly anticipated ever since Richard and Rick got together to form ARTizen, mainly due to the exceptional chemistry they deliver during their live performances. Singularly and without any notion of any previous successful collaboration, ‘R n R’ is a recording that is easily embraced by both jazz beginners as well as aficionados. In fact, the mere mention of Braun and Elliot as musicians adds credence to the notion of what can be called a "jazz activated sensual energy release." Although they may be considered smooth jazz artists by the current measurement, but in the end they are definitely two of the best. ‘RnR’ is the culmination of everything intuitively correct and what has always been known about these two jazz icons.