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Randy Brecker: A Fusion Legacy

R.J. DeLuke By

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The Brecker Brothers "intended to take a short break and do a couple other things. We both just got busy. We'd say, year after year, 'Let's do it next year.' But it was 10 years later. It went by in a flash. But all the stars were aligned the right way. We both had time. GRP Records had come to fruition and they were after us to record. We formed a completely new band. No one in the band in the 90s had played with us previously. We got the best guys and did two records for GRP. Return of the Brecker Brothers and Out of the Loop.

Again very successful, the band had made its mark. It will continue to do so. The Reunion Band, "We're continuing to do it whenever we can," Brecker says. "My idea is to have revolving personnel. Enough guys that played in the band throughout its history."

Brecker divulged that next summer, he plans to revive the Heavy Metal Bebop Band "with Terry Bozzio, the great drummer who's best known for his work with Frank Zappa and Missing Persons, his own band. And Neil Jason on bass and Barry Finnerty on guitar. That was our all-in-all best selling record ( Heavy Metal Be-Bop, Arista, 1978). There was a poll in Japan where it won the best horn record of all time. It beat out Kind of Blue, which came in second, about a year ago ... I've been wanting to do this for years. Also, when Mike was alive we talked about this. The guys seem really excited to do it. So I think we're going to do that next summer."

The current Reunion Band has a revolving cast, depending on who is available. "Everybody else also floats around doing their own thing, so it's an off and on again proposition. Weckl has his own thing going. Plus he plays with Mike Stern. Sometimes I play with Mike Stern. Sometimes Stern will play with me. Chris Minh Doky, who's also on the record, has a band with a lot of the same guys. So it's kind of like revolving chairs. I want to keep the thing going. Not as a steady thing, but off and on throughout the years," says Brecker. "We have a lot of fun doing it and we feed off the audience."

He says of a lot of today's jazz music, "Intellectually enjoy it, but it's hard to listen to for long stretches. That's how I've always been. I enjoy rhythm. That's where I'm coming from. That's what I grew up with. Particularly now, with YouTube, you go all the way back and see how strong those jazz guys were with their time and the beat, and how infectious jazz was. I like to keep that tradition, that aspect of it, going ... It worked out really great all summer. We played some old tunes. One section of the program was dedicated to Mike. We play two or three off his tunes, plus play all the new stuff. That's what we'll do. Hopefully, there will be another record at some time and I'll write some other new stuff. Ada is writing. It's a nice cross section of stuff to keep it going."

Meanwhile, Brecker still plays hot jazz with other groups and seems to be constantly in motion, typical for being one of the greats on his instrument. His latest was a quick jaunt to German, where he played with a Hammond B3 trio called Hammond Eggs. "They are fantastic, really swinging," he say. Rovatti will soon go to work on a solo album of all original tunes.

"These days, you need a lot of different things in the frying pan" to make a living, says Brecker. "You can't just do one thing. In a way, I'm sorry about that. It's great if you can have one band together and play—like in the old days—five years with guys. Like Miles was able to do. But that's not the way it works now. You have to constantly change and reinvent yourself."


Selected Discography

Randy Brecker, The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion (Piloo, 2013)
Randy Brecker, Night in Calisia (Summit, 2013)
Brecker Brothers, The Complete Arista Albums Collection (Arista Records, 2012)
Ada Rovatti, Green Factor (Piloo, 2009)
Brecker Brothers, Return of the Brecker Brothers, (GRP Records, 1992)
Brecker Brothers, Heavy Metal Be-Bop, (Arista, 1978) Brecker Brothers, Back to Back, (Arista, 1976)
Brecker Brothers, The Brecker Brothers, (Arista, 1975)

Photo Credit
Page 1: Bruce Lindsay

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2015

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