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Randy Brecker: A Fusion Legacy

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On stage at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland last July, the ubiquitous trumpeter Randy Brecker lowered his horn after playing two joyous and funky numbers on the stage that is one of the festivals largest venues, serving as a hockey arena during the appropriate season. There were throngs of people, sitting and standing, gleefully taking in the music. After wiping his forehead, Brecker formally announced his group: the Brecker Brothers Reunion Band. “We play FUSION," he said, emphasizing the last word in a lower-register, foghorn like bellow. He repeated “FUUUUUSION." He meant it. The ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Randy Brecker: The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion

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With the tragic passing of Michael Brecker in 2007 at the all-too-young age of 57, it seemed that the flagship group the Brecker Brothers, co-led by the saxophonist with his trumpet-wielding older brother Randy, was also to be a thing of the past. But some things never die; as it was, during the saxophonist's lifetime, the horn-led band that defined the term “downtown funk" and an edgy, urban sound that could only have come from New York City seemed to have an unquenchable life clearly fated to continue, even as the brothers separated at various points to pursue other projects. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Brecker: Night in Calisia

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The waters of history significantly bathe Kalisz, Poland's oldest city. Specifically, they source back when Kalisz was an important stop on the Amber Road to Rome. Historical streams of another type also run broadly through this exuberantly satisfying recording offered by the triumvirate of trumpeter, Randy Brecker, pianist/composer Wlodek Pawlik, and the hometown Kalisz Philharmonic.This is a sprawling, beautiful and inspiring performance which, through Pawlik's effusive musical pageantry, Brecker's outstanding playing, and the orchestra's hometown fervor, appropriately helped the ancient town celebrate its 1850th anniversary. And, they did it magnificently.Stylistically, Pawlik's writing deploys vibrant, elegantly refined ...

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Randy Brecker with DR Big Band: The Jazz Ballad Song Book

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Randy Brecker with DR Big Band The Jazz Ballad Song Book HalfNote Records 2011 On The Jazz Ballad Song Book, trumpeter Randy Brecker, the Danish Radio Big Band and Danish National Chamber Orchestra approach the slow, wistful side of this repertoire as one dimension among others. They expand their view outside of standards to include film works, lesser-known tunes and original compositions. As featured soloist, Brecker displays the colossal tone, impeccable chops and searching impulses that have gifted bands from those led by pianist Horace Silver to singer Bruce Springsteen. His ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Brecker: Nostaglic Journey: Tykocin Jazz Suite

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Trumpeter Randy Brecker's jazz credentials are of the highest order. The Brecker Brothers, the group he co-led with younger brother/saxophonist Michael, was one of the most successful jazz/funk/fusion groups of the 1970s and '80s. But jazz snobbery/elitism never ran in the family. Brecker has played and recorded with seemingly everybody, from the original Blood, Sweat and Tears on its debut, Child is Father to the Man (Columbia Records, 1968), to albums by Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Dire Straits and Aerosmith.With a funk/fusion background and lots of work in the rock world, Nostalgic Journey: Tykocin Jazz Suite, a classical-leaning ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Randy Brecker Quintet Honors Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" at the Kimmel Center

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Randy BreckerPerelman TheaterThe Kimmel Center for the Performing ArtsPhiladelphia, PAFebruary 7, 2009

Around the time that Miles Davis was recording the iconic album Kind of Blue in 1959, a kid from Philadelphia named Randy Brecker was learning to play trumpet, and not long after that, he entered the firmament of jazz, working with Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, and Horace Silver among others. After several decades in the top echelons of musicians, Brecker returned to Philadelphia's Kimmel Center to offer a program honoring Miles Davis and the fiftieth anniversary of the album that changed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Brecker: Randy in Brasil

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Perhaps unfairly overshadowed by his brother, the late saxophonist Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker has, nevertheless been one of the most significant trumpeters of the past forty years. While his small discography as a leader contains as many misses as it does hits, he's brought a unique voice to countless sessions, working with everyone from Horace Silver, Steve Khan and John Scofield to Steely Dan, Parliament and Frank Zappa, not to mention redefining the concept of fusion as co-leader of The Brecker Brothers. Brecker's tone- -a curious combination of warmth and bite--and a harmonic approach that, like Scofield, manages to tread ...

INTERVIEWS

Randy Brecker: Zelig Goes Brazilian

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“My father told me when I was five or six years old--he grabbed me and said, 'the trumpet is the greatest jazz instrument.' And I think he was right," says Randy Brecker, a trumpeter known the world over, it seems, regardless of the style of music he plays, inside and out of the jazz world. “It's a love-hate relationship. Some days I want to throw it out the window. But I still love the sound of the trumpet, after all these years. It's just a thrill to hear it played well." Brecker has been playing trumpet, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Mosaic Select 32: Pendulum Live at the Village Vanguard

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Pendulum: David Liebman/Randy Brecker/Richie Beirach/Frank Tusa/Al Foster Mosaic Select 32: Pendulum Live at the Village Vanguard Mosaic Records 2008 These days a collection of artists--no matter how strong--getting together for a largely standards-based date is often treated with some suspicion. With so many jazz recordings being released every month revolving around an increasingly well-heeled (but, nevertheless, still important) repertoire from The Great American Songbook or legacy jazz artists like pianist Thelonious Monk and saxophonists John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, the cynicism that meets even forward-thinking standards interpreters like pianist Keith Jarrett's trio with bassist Gary ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Brecker: Some Skunk Funk

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Occasionally delving into something familiar and getting exactly what one expects can be safe and reassuring. One does not want to be surprised all the time, because adventure has its place--and so does a cozy everyday routine.

This release by Randy Brecker, which is pleasant but lacks any surprises, feels exactly like going to your neighborhood haunt. The music was recorded live on November 11, 2003 at the Leverkusener Jazztage at the Forum and it features, in addition to the leader, Michael Brecker, a few other guests and the WDR Big Band Koln.

The music consists of original compositions by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland / Randy Brecker: Both / And

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Marc Copland has always had a sense of adventure on his recordings, but Both/And is easily his most rewarding effort to date. For this effort he reunited with trumpeter Randy Brecker (who appeared on two of Copland's earlier CDs) and is joined by bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis, who have been paired on a number of recordings and are always a top-notch rhythm section. The date focuses primarily on Copland's aggressive post bop originals, with Brecker acting as a perfect foil, fueled by the strong, inventive pulse of Howard and Lewis. The pianist's musical palette ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Evans / Randy Brecker: Soul Bop Band Live

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&BBill Evans and Randy Brecker are both, to put it succinctly, well-traveled. In more than twenty years as a solo artist, Evans has been nominated for several Grammy awards, establishing a repertoire that includes traditional jazz, funk, hip-hop and Brazilian styles. Brecker has been delivering straight jazz, fusion, rock and R for three decades. Collectively, the pair has performed or recorded with a wide range of acts, including Miles Davis, Parliament/Funkadelic, James Taylor, Steely Dan, Horace Silver, Chaka Khan, Dave Liebman, Andy Summers and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Evans and Brecker have now come together with their own supergroup, Soulbop Band, ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Randy Brecker: Some Skunk Funk & Soulbop Band Live

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Randy Brecker with Michael Brecker Some Skunk Funk Telarc Records 2006 Bill Evans and Randy Brecker Soulbop Band Live BHM Productions 2005

Randy Brecker's latest recordings are only mainstream because they are generously laced with R&B soul and multifaceted Latin funk. In all other aspects, Brecker, who performs with his younger brother Michael on the first album and saxophonist Bill Evans on the other record, is a jazz persona. Playing the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Brecker: Some Skunk Funk

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The 2003 performance documented on Some Skunk Funk may be credited to trumpeter Randy Brecker, but his brother, saxophonist Michael, joins in for a Brecker Brothers reunion with the added oomph of Germany's WDR Big Band. And if ever a band's repertoire was custom-made to be retrofitted with a larger horn section, it's that of the Brecker Brothers. Some of the material comes from Randy Brecker's solo career: “Shanghigh" and “Let It Go" from 34th N Lex (ESC, 2003), “Wayne Out" from Hanging in the City (ESC, 2001), and a new tune, “Let It Go." But what's remarkable is how ...



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