A true stylist who has performed with a who's who of jazz, pop and jazz-fusion artists, trumpeter Randy Brecker's latest solo effort includes his equally renowned brother, saxophonist Michael Brecker and vibraphonist Joe Locke along with perennial studio musicians; guitarist Hiram Bullock, bassist Will Lee and others. Here, Brecker injects a bit of whimsy into a set consisting of funk-groove rhythms, hip-hop, tight horn charts, synths, drum programming and everything and anything producer George Whitty decided to utilize for this sadly over-produced outing. With "Overture," the band conveys a party atmosphere via nondescript themes and Brecker's moderately amusing yet altogether silly rap, while "Wayne Out" features more of the same, although guitarist Adams Rogers generates a bit of much needed interest, thanks to his heated soloing.
The rap-funk saga continues with the title track "Hangin In The City," whereas Brecker elevates the excitement level a notch or two with rapid fire sixteenth notes during the Brecker Brothers-like composition titled, "Down For The Count." However, the band executes a relatively soulless blues motif amid Brecker's verbose and at times, squirrelly vocals on "Then I Came 2 My Senses." Basically, the trumpeter's latest musical visions and aspirations surge forth as being unintentionally sterile, overtly hi-tech and are perhaps more conducive for sneaker ads. Thus, Hangin' In The City beckons this writer, to make a beeline for the country.
Personnel: Randy Brecker; trumpet, flugelhorn: Michael Brecker; tenor saxophone: George Whitty; keyboards & programming: Hiram Bullock; guitar, background vocals: Adam Rogers; guitar: Dean Brown; guitar: Joe Caro; guitar: Chris Minh Doky; acoustic & electric bass: Will Lee; electric bass, background vocals: Richard Bona; electric bass: Joe Locke; vibraphone: Don Alias; percussion: Mike Harvey; background vocals: Katreese Barnes; background vocals: Randroid (Randy Brecker); vocals