Reminisce about a time when music was heartfelt, inspiring and even funky. Now think of an artist. An artist who George Benson described as "believable in any music style" and whom for a complete decade topped the Jazz and Adult Contemporary charts with his kickin' Trumpet and rich jazz melodies. The decade was 1979-1989 and the artist is Tom Browne..."Mr. Jamaica Funk".
Tom Browne's success was inevitable as he began to carve a path for his musical future early on as a student of New York's High School of Music and Art. During this period, Browne became a regular on the New York jazz scene and had the fortune of learning from masters like Jimmy Nottingham and Roy Eldridge. Later, as a physics major at City University, Browne would have his first performance and under the leadership of jazz greats Sonny Fortune and Weldon Irvine, achieve domestic and international recognition. It's no surprise that Downbeat Magazine would single out his "warm trumpet" during the review of Fortune's 1976 "Infinity Is...." album.
In 1978 after Browne played an NY uptown club affiliated with George Benson, he was offered several solo recording contracts and ultimately signed with GRP Records (then distributed by Arista). On GRP, he recorded four solo albums. His debut release, "Browne Sugar" (1979) dominated the jazz charts for numerous weeks while his next two releases "Love Approach" (1980) and "Magic" (1981) each sold 500,000 units earning gold records. "Love Approach" also spawned the hit song "Funkin' for Jamaica," which earned him a gold single and today, is still a favorite among dance DJ's around the world. After Browne's incredible success, he was signed directly to Arista Records where he recorded tow more hit albums, "Rockin' Radio" and "Tommy Gun". During this time Browne went on to win the prestigious Billboard honors of Best Instrumentalist-Black Oriented Album & Singles, Best Jazz Cross-Over, Best Jazz Artist - Trumpet and Best Jazz Solo Album. In 1992 his Tokyo, Lond and New York performances received outstanding critic and audience acclaim. In addition to Browne's incredible solo achievements, his discography as a sideman is of equal caliber. He has performed and recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Miller, Stanley Turrentine, Stanley Clarke, Bob James, Loose Ends, Dave Grusin, Joe Sample and more.
In 1994, following a six year break with occasional sidemen performances and recordings while indulging in his hobby as a charter pilot, Tom Browne went back into the studio. The outcome was the long-awaited follow-up album, "Mo' Jamaica Funk" (HIBD 8002), his first release for Hip Bop Records. The album also reunited Browne with his old mates Marcus Miller, Najee, Toni Smith, and Bernard Wright.
In 1995, Tom one of the "All Stars" on the first album for the Essence All Star Series on Hip Bop's acoustic label Hip Bop Essence. Produced by Lenny White and tracing the roots of American funk in jazz, Essence of Funk (HIBD 8007), features Tom with Ron Carter (bass), Billy Childs (piano), Donald Harrison (saxes), Bennie Maupin (saxes, bass clarinet) and Lenny White (drums).
The reaction to the presence of Tom Browne in an acoustic setting inspired Hip Bop Records to have Tom make an acoustic record of his own. The outcome, Another Shade of Browne (HIBD 8011), features a different side of Tom. The repertoire features works by composers who have been a source of inspiration to Tom. Produced by Bob Belden and Milan Simich, this is a straight ahead set with Ron Carter (bass), Larry Goldings (piano), Javon Jackson (saxes) and Idris Muhammad (drums).
His 99' CD R'N'Browne is a cover-album with Franky Beverly's Joy and Pain, Soul II Soul's Back to life, Hathaway's Someday we `ll be free, Loose Ends' Hanging on a string ..and many more jewels of the R'n'B-history. Tom Browne shows his old smooth mastership in brilliantly playing trumpet.