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 placeand 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 either the leader or Michael Brecker that are essentially mainstream bop with hints of '70s fusion, and on the third and the last tracks a dash of Latin. The musicians involved are uniformly excellent and their mastery, rather than the material itself, is what makes this recording a very enjoyable listen. The improvised solos soar above the lush and buoyant orchestral work of the big band, driven by the propulsive drumming of Peter Esrkine.
Randy Brecker's trumpet sounds a bit like Miles Davis in his later years, with an occasional Maynard Ferguson-style high note. Despite these similarities to trumpet legends, he never loses his uniqueness of style and he maintains an easily identifiable sound. The other soloists shine as well, particularly Jim Beard on the keyboards.
Some Skunk Funk may not be very memorable or groundbreaking, and adventurous ears may not enjoy it, but overall the disc is a well-rounded set of masterfully executed and beautiful, albeit familiar music.
Track Listing: Some Skunk Funk; Sponge; Shanghigh; Wayne Out; And Then She Wept; Strap-Hangin'; Let It Go; Freefall;
Levitate; Song For Barry.
Personnel: Randy Brecker: trumpet; Michael Brecker: tenor sax; Jim Beard: piano and synthesizer; Will Lee: electric bass;
Peter Erskine: drums; Marcio Doctor: percussion; WDR Big Band: big band; Vince Mendoza: conductor.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!