Ever sit back dreamily listening to an album, letting the music wash over you when all of a sudden, you hear a number that snaps you to attention? Such is the experience when listening to Brian Bromberg's Compared to That.
The noteworthy number here: "Hayride," an original by Bromberg. Earlier tracks are hard-edged smooth jazz arrangements. The title track shows off Jeff Lorber's piano, along with Bromberg's unique work on acoustic bass and hollow body piccolo bass. (Album note, there are no guitar melodies or solos on this recording only Bromberg on piccolo.) This is followed by "Rory Lowery, Private Eye," which is filled with hot licks punctuated by Mitchel Forman's piano and Gary Meek's tenor. In contrast, the aforementioned, attention grabbing "Hayride," with its country feel and jazz overlay of piccolo bass, banjo and violin results in a boisterous dos- à -dos called by Bromberg.
In the ten-track set, eight are penned by Bromberg, who leads an eclectic ensemble featuring a ten-piece horn section and at times, the Japenese Rising Sun Orchestra. Standout number "If Ray Brown Was A Cowboy, " pares the musicians down to three, Tom Zink on piano, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Bromberg on acoustic bass. It's a tasty piece, with a low-down funky flavor.
The two covers, Chicago's "Does Anybody Ever Really Know What Time It Is" and Derrick James's "Give It To Me Baby" are reworked with large ensembles in swinging, finger-popping fashion, conclusively proving that Bromberg is a jazzman for all seasons.
Compared to That is wide ranging but the direction is straight-ahead and down-the-middle...occasionally edging to the passing lane.
Track Listing: Compared To That; Rory Lowery, Private Eye; If Ray Brown Was A Cowboy?; Hayride;
A Little New Old School; Forgiveness; Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?;I’m
Just Sayin’;The Eclipse; Give It To Me Baby.
Personnel: Brian Bromberg: Acoustic, electric, acoustic piccolo bass; Ginnie Coliuta: drums (all
tracks except 6); Alex Acuna: percussion (1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10); Jeff Lorber: piano (1, 5);
Gary Meek: tenor sax (1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 10); Randy Brecker: trumpet, fluegelhorn (5, 8, 9);
Tom Zink: piano (3, 6, 7, 10); Mitch Forman: piano (2, 4); Bela Fleck: banjo (4); Charlie
Bishirat: Violin (4); Gannin Arnold: rhythm guitar (5); Larry Goldings: Hammond B3
organ (7); George Duke: piano (9); Horn section: Willie Murillo: trumpet; Tony Guerrero:
trumpet; Mark Visher: alto sax, baritone Sax; Vince Trombetta: tenor sax: Jason Thor:
trombone (1, 2, 5, 7, 10); Rising Sun Orchestra (4, 6).
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.