Auracle

Auracle was an American jazz-rock band that released two albums on Chrysalis in 1978 and 1979. The members released an earlier album as Inner Vision. Along with The Muffins and Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Auracle were one of the few instrumental acts of this period to make extensive use of mallets.

Members: Richard C. Braun (trumpet, flugelhorn), Ron Wagner (drums, percussion), Bill Staebell (bass), John Serry (piano, Rhodes, 1978), Biff Hannon (piano, Fender Rhodes, Moog synthesizer, 1979), Steven A. Rehbein (percussion), Steve Kujala (woodwinds)


Auracle released their first album, Glider, in mid-1978 on Chrysalis. It features eight originals, including the staccato trumpet fest “Colombian Bubblegum,” the speedy mallet/horn entangled “Sleezy Listening,” the Rhodes-glistening gallop “‘Sno Fun,” the 7/8 samba shuffle “Chez Amis,” and the wiggly sax-ensnared “Tom Thumb.”

The last of those was coupled with the album’s ivory/woodwind-laden title-track on a 12″ promo single. The album was co-produced by Teo Macero, whose other credits from the period include albums by Miles Davis, Paul Horn, Stan Getz, and Kimiko Kasai. The back cover features liner notes by Record World writer Sam Sutherland, who uses the phrase “state of the art” to describe the band’s musicianship and execution.

Auracle’s second album, City Slickers, appeared in early 1979. It features seven songs, including the jerky horn-jittering “Bombs Away Ballet,” the rhythmically fluttering “Sambanana,” and the layering epic “City of Penetrating Light.”

Keyboardist Biff Hannon, who replaced John Serry for these recordings, contributed “Tied Shoes,” a sax-riff/hi-hat-driven track bisected with vibe-like Rhodes runs. Macero resumed his role with engineering by Hank Cicalo and Terry Becker, who jointly worked on recent albums by Tom Scott, Bobby Hutcherson, and Minako Yoshida. Guitarist Tim May (Switch, Lalo Schifrin, Candi Staton, Elkie Brooks) guests on two tracks.


Auracle trumpeter Rick Braun became an in-demand sessioner during the 1980s, playing on albums by Amanda Lear, Lynn Carey, Loredana Bertè, and Natalie Cole. During the early ’90s, he played on hits by Rod Stewart (“Rebel Heart”) and Tina Turner (“Why Must We Wait Until Tonight?”). As a solo artist, he issued the album Gypsy Lady on Overseas Records in 1984, followed by numerous discs and collaborative recordings during the subsequent three decades.

Drummer/percussionist Ron Wagner backed an array of ’80s-era pop, jazz and classical performers, including L. Subramaniam, Richard Searles, Strunz & Farah, Teri Desario, and the Eastman Jazz Ensemble.

Original Auracle keyboardist John Serry cut two jazz albums for Chrysalis in 1979/80. He also arranged the Italo-disco release Up & Down, issued under the moniker Wonder on Baby Records in 1980.


Discography:

  • Glider (1978)
  • City Slickers (1979)

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