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Thread: AAJ Review: Randy Brecker, The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: Randy Brecker, The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion




    My review of AAJ Review: Randy Brecker's The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion, today at All About Jazz.


    With the tragic passing of Michael Brecker in 2007 at the all-too-young age of 57, it seemed that the flagship group the Brecker Brothers, co-led by the saxophonist with his trumpet-wielding older brother Randy, was also to be a thing of the past. But some things never die; as it was, during the saxophonist's lifetime, the horn-led band that defined the term "downtown funk" and an edgy, urban sound that could only have come from New York City seemed to have an unquenchable life clearly fated to continue, even as the brothers separated at various points to pursue other projects. Emerging in the '70s with a string of six superb albums on Arista Records beginning with 1975's The Brecker Bros. and culminating with the 1981's swan song, Straphangin', the Brecker Brothers reformed in the mid-'90s for the stellar The Return of the Brecker Brothers (GRP, 1992) and equally strong Out of the Loop (GRP, 1994), coming together yet again in 2003 for a collaboration with Germany's WDR Big Band that, documented on Some Skunk Funk (Telarc, 2006), may have been listed under Randy's name but, with Michael in tow, was a Brecker Brothers record in everything but name.


    Last year's The Brecker Bros.—The Complete Arista Albums Collection (Legacy, 2012) was a precursor and taste-whetter forThe Brecker Brothers Band Reunion, an album that, once again under Randy's name, revives the spirit of downtown funk with a double-disc helping: a studio CD recorded in the fall of 2011 with a larger cast of characters, and a DVD recorded at New York City's Blue Note in 2012 with a core sextet that includes producer/keyboardist George Whitty, guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Will Lee, drummer Dave Weckl and, stepping into Michael's shoes with all the requisite fire and energy without ever resorting to mere imitation, Randy's wife, Ada Rovatti.


    Continue reading here...

  2. #2
    Member No Pride's Avatar
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    Hmmm... big Brecker Bros. fan here, but... it ain't the BBs with only one of the two siblings still alive. Randy is a great musician and I don't doubt it's a good album; just wish he would've called it something else.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    Hmmm... big Brecker Bros. fan here, but... it ain't the BBs with only one of the two siblings still alive. Randy is a great musician and I don't doubt it's a good album; just wish he would've called it something else.
    Well, it is a reunion of a great many players who played in the Brecker Brothers Band over the years (I think the only guys who'd not were Dave Weckl, Rodney Holmes and Mitch Stein), so it's a reasonable enough title. After all, let's nor forget that the Allman Brothers Band continued to be called that even though, after the fall of 1971, there was only one Allman brother left in the band - and nobody considered anything wrong with it because they continued to honor the spirit of Duane - all the more these days without Dickey Betts; personally I think the Allmans with Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes have never sounded closer, in spirit, to the Allman Brothers of old (while still being forward-thinking in ways that Duane likely would have been also, had he remained alive to this day).

    So if The Allman Brothers Band can do it, why not The Brecker Brothers? Ada Rovatti plays her ass off - surprisingly; I didn't think she had this in her, and as I said in the review, she is under no circumstances copying Michael (for one thing, she plays a lot more soprano than Brecker ever played with TBB).

    It's not just a cash grab that has caused Randy to unearth TBB name for this group; the vibe and spirit of TBB remains alive and well with this group, even if only one Brecker remains. Plus, on the couple tracks where they recruit David Sanborn to relive the early three-horn front line of TBB, it sure feels like Michael is watching over this group, and grooving along with the rest of 'em.

  4. #4
    Member No Pride's Avatar
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    Well, you make a good point, drawing a parallel with the Allmans , John.

    Got to admit, I'm a little disheartened by the apparent lack of interest in general concerning the BBs. I thought (and still think) that their debut was one of the most groundbreaking albums of the '70s, which is saying a lot! How much polyphonic funk had anyone made before them?! Or after, for that matter?!

    I was lucky enough to see them on what must've been their first US tour, when Dave Sanborn was still onboard. it was pretty killer!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    Well, you make a good point, drawing a parallel with the Allmans , John.
    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    Got to admit, I'm a little disheartened by the apparent lack of interest in general concerning the BBs. I thought (and still think) that their debut was one of the most groundbreaking albums of the '70s, which is saying a lot! How much polyphonic funk had anyone made before them?! Or after, for that matter?!
    You're preachin' to the choir, but it' some of the reasons I went to town when reviewing the Complete Arista Albums Collection box last year, and why - despite being so behind with my backlog I'll never get back to scratch - I had to review Randy's record. We must never forget The Brecker Brothers; there was no other band that sounded like them, and of all the fusion bands of the time, if you eliminate some of their more disco-fied stuff that shows up on some if their late '70s records, they manage to stand the test of time much better, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    I was lucky enough to see them on what must've been their first US tour, when Dave Sanborn was still onboard. it was pretty killer!
    Well now you're just messin' with me! You lucky, lucky bastard!

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