Randy Brecker: Into the Sun

Robert Spencer By

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It’s Randy, it’s David Sanborn (one track), it’s Brazil. Randy Brecker does the fusion thing, this time fusing his expressive trumpet with comfortable Brazilian rhythms and voices. It’s Astrud Gilberto meets the late Miles — in a happy mood, of course. This CD cooks along pleasantly, so tightly executed that it’s surprising to hear Brecker say, "I chose musicians with whom I had never played, and barely knew. Moreover, the musicians themselves had never played together and barely knew each other."

The introductions went this way: Randy, of course, on trumpet and flugelhorn; Gil Goldstein on keyboards and accordion; Adam Rogers on electric and acoustic guitars; Bakithi Kumalo on bass; Jonathan Joseph on drums; Café on percussion; and Maúcha Adnét on gossamer-wing vocals. Sanborn chimes in on "The Sleaze Factor," and six others add color but never assume center stage: Dave Bargeron (trombone); David Taylor (bass trombone and tuba); Lawrence Feldman (bass flute); Keith Underwood (alto and bass flutes); Bob Mintzer (bass clarinet); and Richard Sussman (synthesizer programming). Sussman had a lot to do, spreading atmosphere all over this disc. But the synthesizers are never so obtrusive that they detract from Brecker’s consistently strong trumpet or Goldstein’s able keyboards.

Everything cooks on "The Sleaze Factor" and "Into the Sun." "After Love" is pleasant, "Gray Area" catchy. "Tijuca" starts in a synthesizer soup, but clears by the time Brecker arrives for another capable turn. In sum, everything is slick, slick, slick, and if you like that sort of thing, this is a good, danceable example.

For a real twist, the CD ends up with a wildly touching tape of Randy’s father singing to him in 1945 when he was two weeks old. It’s a slice of a different world that cuts through all the slickness (including the funk appended to it) and sticks in your mind more than just about anything else on this album. After this too-brief vignette Randy has attached a vocal in which a man complains about a woman’s having left him. "I was treated like a clown," goes the refrain in part. It’s hard to resist responding, "Well, maybe it’s the generic arrangements."

Sure, Randy Brecker can play. But except for his dad’s appearance, this is just another record. If you like this, try late Miles and Getz/Gilberto.


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