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Brian Bromberg: Wood II

Jim Santella By

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Brian Bromberg comes from a generation that has experienced it all: from big band, blues and bebop to rock 'n' roll, disco, soft rock, hard rock, heavy metal and much more. His projects reflect the eclectic nature of his 32 years of professional experience; he's quite comfortable in a variety of settings. In recent years, he's released Jaco, Wood, and Metal with an in-depth look at each.

Wood II provides an adventurous look at jazz's modern mainstream. Bromberg interprets the music of forefathers such as Duke Ellington, Kenny Dorham, Woody Herman, and Wayne Shorter, as well as the music of Earth, Wind and Fire, Paul McCartney and Kansas. Creative in every which way, the bassist has created an enjoyable program that can appeal to a wide range of jazz fans.

I'll Remember April runs hard and fast at a bebop pace, with dexterity coming from all sides of the trio. Bromberg's solos give this one (and every track) a shining star worth two thumbs up. The trio takes "Caravan at a forceful pace with a clave rhythm and an exotic texture. Similarly, "Pensativa moves with a Latin rhythm, but this time it's leisurely and mellow. The classic Woody Herman piece "Four Brothers includes the bassist's whistling along with the trio's interpretation. After a standard take on the familiar melody with Bromberg supplying the whistled version, the trio attacks the song one more time—with the whistler overdubbing the harmonic layers of the original four brothers. It's quite a treat.

Bromberg interprets four selections from the program alone, without piano or drums. "Blue Bossa honors the tradition of its original melody, with plenty of creative action folded in. "Shining Star features three multitracked acoustic bass parts. The three deep instrumental voices work together cohesively to reflect the same kind of soulfulness that the song originally brought us. "Carry On Wayward Son is filled with down-home reflections of what we hold near and dear. Bromberg interprets those feelings through his lyrical bass melodies and textural variations such as slap bass, double stops and slides. To close the album, Paul McCartney's "Let 'em In rides its lovely melody through the bassist's vibrating strings and reaches deep into the heart of his audience.

You don't have to be a bassist to appreciate the virtuosity that Brian Bromberg exhibits throughout Wood and Wood II. Just don't ask me to choose between these two highly recommended albums.


Track Listing: Caravan; Bolivia; Blue Bossa; Witch Hunt; A Love Affair; Butterfly; Shining Star; I

Personnel: Brian Bromberg: bass; Randy Waldman: piano; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums.

Title: Wood II | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Artistry Music


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