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On Wood II, bassist Brian Bromberg, instead of showcasing new material, prefers to give his take on songs by a different range of composers, some of whom, like Paul McCartney and Kansas, are not directly associated with jazz. He opens with a classic Duke Ellington number, "Caravan, showing incredible speed during certain moments and also giving a lot of space to pianist Randy Waldman to show his chops.
Another impressive track is Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa, which Bromberg plays as a solo piece, showing amazing technique, alternately soloing and playing chords in a breathtaking progression. He also takes on Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son as a solo, expanding the rock bass line into an acoustic realm. What makes this particular track a standout is that the song, stripped as it is, still has that unmistakable classic rock feel, even though it somehow does also sound like jazz. Few musicians can do that.
The four-part whistling choir you hear in Woody Herman's "Four Brothers is Bromberg, who decided to experiment with overdubbing after being encouraged by session guitarist Dean Parks during a past engagement. The result is a very playful melody in which everybody seemed to have a good time. He softens things up on the melodious "A Love Affair, a song that has a definite bossa feel, giving room for the piano to shine while drums and bass provide the background.
He closes with a faithful solo rendition of Paul McCartney's "Let 'Em In. There are no pyrotechnics here, just Bromberg painting the song as if it were a blank canvas. He puts chords only where they were originally present in the song, allowing for a little improvisation at the end. Fans of the former Beatle would recognize the song and McCartney himself would be satisfied with Bromberg's rendition.
Track Listing: Caravan; Bolivia; Blue Bossa; Witch Hunt; A Love Affair; Butterfly; Shining Star; I'll Remember April; Pensativa; Carry On Wayward Son; The Four Brothers; Let 'Em In.
Personnel: Brian Bromberg: bass; Randy Waldman: piano; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums.