Friday, July 27, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Tom Browne

Artist:Tom Browne f/Tonni Smith
Song:Funkin' For Jamaica
Album:Funkin' For Jamaica

Jazz trumpeter Tom Browne had success in the R & B market in the 80s. Funkin' For Jamaica was his biggest hit in 1980. Today it's a funk classic frequently sampled by hip hop guys. In recent years Browne has returned to more typical jazz recordings. He was born Oct. 30, 1954 in Queens, NY. He studied piano and took up the trumpet while attending New York's High School of Music and Art. Then he got interested in jazz. Freddie Hubbard was a big influence. His first professional gig was with pianist Weldon Irvine in 1975 and he played with Sonny Fortune and Lonnie Smith. Guitarist Earl Klugh introduced Browne to pianist Dave Grusin. At the time, Grusin was starting GRP Records with partner Larry Rosen with Arista Records distribution. Grusin is best known for his film and TV music like the TV show St. Elsewhere but he is a jazz guy. Browne's 1979 debut album Browne Sugar was straight jazz and did well on the jazz chart. With his second album Love Approach, Browne decided to go away from jazz and towards R & B. Jazz critics lambasted him for this. Funkin' For Jamaica topped the R & B Singles chart in 1980. Browne wrote the song with singer Tonni Smith. When Browne is talking about Jamaica, he is talking about Jamaica, Queens, NY where he grew up. Tonni Smith is a New York session singer who was a one time member of The Crystals. Her work with Browne is her main claim to fame. She also appears on Thighs High, another top five R & B hit for Browne. Among the musicians who played on Funkin' For Jamaica were pianists Dave Grusin and Bernard Wright, guitarist Bobby Broom, bassist Francisco Centeno and drummer Omar Hakim. Browne continued to have success on the R & B charts until he left GRP in 1985. This budget comp covers the GRP recordings. After a 1988 album for Malaco, Browne left the music business to become a commercial pilot. In 1994, he returned with Hip Bop Records. His latest CD S'up was released on his own label in 2010 and Browne still tours. Funkin' For Jamaica has been frequently sampled by hip hop guys, most significantly by Mariah Carey on (Don't Stop) Funkin' 4 Jamaica in the 2001 film Glitter. Here's a video for the funk classic Funkin' For Jamaica by Tom Browne featuring Tonni Smith.

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