Ronnie Laws & Tom Browne

Ronnie Laws

Born October 3, 1950 as Ronald Wayne Laws, he's a younger brother of famous jazz flautist Hubert Laws.

In 1972, he joined the fledgling group Earth, Wind & Fire, playing saxophone and flute on their album "Last Days And Time". He left the band soon afterwards, before they achieved their huge commercial success.

In 1975, he began his solo career with the album "Pressure Sensitive", on which his most famous instrumental song, "Always There", was included. It became an instant jazz-funk classic, covered by numerous artists.

Laws has also recorded with numerous other artists, including Arthur Adams, Howard Hewett, Ramsey Lewis, Jeff Lorber, Hugh Masekela, Alphonse Mouzon, David Sea, and Sister Sledge.

Tom Browne is a Jazz trumpeter, who rose to prominence first through his early work with Sonny Fortune, and scored two major hits in the early 80’s: the No. 1 US Billboard R&B single "Funkin' for Jamaica (N.Y.)" and the No. 4 R&B single, "Thighs High (Grip Your Hips and Move)".

Tom 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 High School of Music and Art / Performing Arts in New York (subject in 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, 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 and Wayne (Jazz Crusaders) Henderson regularly.

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Ronnie Laws & Tom Browne

Sunday, June 30 · 8:00 PM at Rams Head On Stage