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) and guitar legend Earl Klugh, 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.