Posts Tagged ‘ Brian Bromberg ’

Smooth Jazz Festival Augsburg 2016 (A Retrospective)

The wintery Augsburg was dressed in a robe of hoarfrost, when we reached our destination on Friday after a long journey. It was for the first time that we attended the Smooth Jazz Festival in Augsburg during the New Year period. We had expected adverse weather conditions and were pleasantly surprised by the snow-free weather. Traditionally the festival took place in the Kurhaus Göggingen in Augsburg. A venue of timeless beauty build in the years of rapid industrial expansion in Germany. It is the work of famous architect Jean Keller, who constructed the building in 1886.

The festival is due to the promoter Christian Bössner, who, like every year, is passionate about the smooth running, the high-profile artists and the constancy of the festival. To him my highest appreciation and many thanks for this wonderful event.

The backing band consisted, as always, of professional studio musicians, who had been operating their music business for many years. The formation was led by musical director and gifted keyboardist Lutz Deterra, who, with his musical expertise, mastery on his instrument and tireless élan, kept the event in motion.

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Brian Bromberg – Full Circle

bbfullcircleWorld-renowned acoustic and electric bassist Brian Bromberg hasn’t released an album in the U.S. since 2012, a fact that might not have been cause for concern if you know that at one point he released three albums in one year. Every man deserves a break. However, once you realize that this chameleon with over 20 projects in his catalog recently had reason to believe that he might never play music again, you understand the gravity of his latest acoustic jazz project, Full Circle – one he says may well be “the most important record of my career.”

Like all of his work, Bromberg’s latest features a stellar cast that includes trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, saxophonists Bob Sheppard, Kirk Whalum and Doug Webb, pianists Randy Waldman, Mitch Forman and Otmaro Ruiz, and percussionist Alex Acuña. The project also finds ‘the man that refuses to sit still’ mixing styles from New Orleans funk and a legit jazz cover of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop `Til You Get Enough” to Cubop – with a sizzling relentless swing throughout. But the aspects that make this project resonate deeper than anything Bromberg’s done prior boils down to a series of life changing events, career firsts and the magic of today’s technology meeting mediums of old.

A freak accident that Bromberg had at his home a couple years ago resulted in him breaking his back in two places with severe trauma. The fall nearly debilitated him requiring extensive rehabilitation to stand and walk, let alone cradle an upright bass properly or strap an electric bass on his back. Through sheer intestinal fortitude, exhaustive work, and the love and support of the woman in his life, Bromberg made an amazing recovery. When he did, a familial spirit guided him to make an album that returned him to his roots in acoustic jazz. That spirit is that of his father, Howard Bromberg, a once-busy drummer in Tucson, Arizona (where Bromberg was born) who inspired both his sons to play drums as well. Continue reading

I happened To Hear 08/2012

You already know that Brian Bromberg is not like other bassists you’ve heard right? Well as a measure of how different he is, during May-June 2012, he released 3 albums, two of them on the same day!

Let’s get into the first, ‘Compared to That’. If you loved his CD ‘Downright Upright’ (I did) then the opener to this set (the title track) will get you smiling straight off. It’s a big band stomper with Bromberg’s trademark humour and some fabulous acoustic bass soloing. And you recognise that sense of fun in ‘What if Ray brown was a Cowboy?’ – a lovely lazy jazz trio tribute to one of jazz’s greatest. Enjoy the lovely piano on this song. And enjoy Béla Fleck’s flying banjo lines on ‘Hayride’. It’s a joyous country romp and I bet I’m not the only who can picture a team of guys with sleeves rolled up triumphantly lifting the last piece of a barn into place somewhere in Pennsylvania…

In stark contrast, the funky, horn-laden ‘A Little New Old School’ could be a Tower of Power outing minus vocals. The electric bass is laying it down here and Randy Brecker dives in with a scorching trumpet solo. ‘Does Anyone Really Know What Time it Is?’ is a gorgeous swinging big band tune with a sweet lead guitar line, ah but you know Bromberg’s ‘lead guitar’ is actually him on bass don’t you? Gary Meek’s tenor sax plays off the ‘guitar’ lines really nicely and I’m drinking Crown Royal in the best jazz club in town… And if you want to get lost in a nine-minute dream, flip to track 9 for ‘The Eclipse’ and soak up the jazz vibe as Bromberg’s fretless and Brecker’s smoky flugelhorn weave a spell you won’t want to break.

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Brian Bromberg – In The Spirit of Jobim

Brian Bromberg created this year’s hat-trick. After his high-acclaimed Compared To That, a mainstream jazz album, which also respects the desire for smooth jazz elements, he surprised his fans with Bromberg Plays Hendrix, a tribute to the late guitar legend. His third strike is In The Spirit of Jobim, a homage to the Brazilian songwriter, composer and musician Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim.

Bromberg has carefully selected his co-players Airto (percussion, vocals), Alex Acuna (drums, percussion), Otmar Ruiz (piano), Corey Allen (piano melodies and fills), Ramon Stagnaro (guitar), Gary Meek (flute, sax), Mitch Forman (piano), Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar), Joel Taylor (drums), Mike Shapiro (drums, percussion) and the string section of The Rising Sun Orchestra.

Bromberg introduces into One Note Samba on acoustic bass giving the marching direction of the percussion group. A purely acoustic treat.

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Brian Bromberg – Bromberg Plays Hendrix

There are few musicians who are so driven by the music as the bassist Brian Bromberg. Brian has recently released his album Compared To That, an evenhanded mixture of pop and jazz, that will actually excite jazz purists.

Now he presents Bromberg Plays Hendrix (2012), a tribute to the late guitar legend Jimi Hendrix. Brian is just accompanied by Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. All other instruments are performed by Bromberg.

Bromberg enthuses about his new project: “This project is not a gimmick; it’s very musical and real. It’s all about the music for me.”

Hendrix’s shadow is too big that jazz musician Bromberg could deprive him. One can therefore expect no jazz album. To be clear, Bromberg Plays Hendrix is a pure rock album. As a lover of smooth jazz, one finds, for that reason, on the borders of own taste.

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Brian Bromberg – Compared To That

Brian Bromberg is one of the top five bassists worldwide. The GRAMMY nominated bass player grew up in a world of jazz. He already performed in early years with area jazz bands and symphonies. Although some of his twenty solo albums are settled in the smooth jazz realm, his musical love was always devoted to straight ahead jazz. “I still love playing with straight-ahead jazz artists and I want to do more acoustic, mainstream jazz albums myself.”

Brian’s new album Compared To That is such a mainstream jazz album, which also respects the desire for smooth jazz elements. The album was recorded live in between two days. Recording artists were beside Brian Alex Acuna, Gannin Arnold, Charlie Bisharat, Randy Brecker, Vinnie Colaiuta, George Duke, Bela Fleck, Mitch Forman, Larry Goldings, Jeff Lorber, Gary Meek and Tom Zink.

Fast paced, horn driven, bass loaded, that is the introducing Compared To That. Bromberg excels on Upright bass with impressive dexterity. Jeff Lorber brings with his signature piano virtuosity the piece to breathtaking highs.

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Brian Bromberg – Compared To That

Grammy nominated bass maestro Brian Bromberg continues to blaze his own audacious path through the jazz kingdom on Compared To That, which will be released June 5th by Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Records.  For his 20th solo collection of kinetic and combustible jazz of various forms, Bromberg produced, composed eight new songs, and herded a ten-piece horn section, a full orchestra string section and a prodigious collective of prominent musicians.  The first track to go to radio is his swinging take on the snappy Chicago hit, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”

It’s been a while since Bromberg recorded an album that swings so he primarily maintains a fast cadence on “Compared To That.”  Although the record leans towards straight ahead acoustic jazz, Bromberg refuses to color between the lines.  His visionary, multihued jazz palette swirls hard-charging swing, contemporary sheen, deep-fried funk, and touchingly beautiful balladry.  Throughout the album, Bromberg’s basswork is like a master’s class with the astute musician playing acoustic, electric and piccolo (both acoustic and steel string) basses.  With his piccolo basses tuned to sound like guitar, all of the lead melodies and solos throughout the collection that sound like guitar are actually piccolo bass.

An accomplished cadre lent their talents to the two days of live tracking including Alex Acuna, Gannin Arnold, Charlie Bisharat, Randy Brecker, Vinnie Colaiuta, George Duke, Bela Fleck, Mitch Forman, Larry Goldings, Jeff Lorber, Gary Meek and Tom Zink.  Bromberg’s tongue-in-cheek humor was deftly deployed when it came to titling his original compositions – “Rory Lowery, Private Eye,” “If Ray Brown Was A Cowboy?,” “A Little New Old School” and “I’m Just Sayin’” are a few examples – and his flair for choosing unexpected songs to cover shines brightly on an imaginative, toe-tapping rendition of the Rick James signature hit “Give It To Me Baby.”

“One thing I feel that makes Compared To That a unique project is that it is a live jazz recording that also has a ten-piece horn section on many tracks, a full orchestra string section on two cuts, and the production of a much bigger project.  Essentially, it really was a two-day live jazz recording session along with 3-1/2 months of the kind of production used on big pop records.  I truly blended the best of both worlds: live acoustic jazz with the audiophile of a major production,” explained Bromberg, who previewed the album at a Sunday brunch performance at the Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pennsylvania this past weekend (March 25).  “I went more to my jazz roots on this CD with a lot of swing and walking bass.  All in all, I think it is a fun listen for a true jazz CD and I am very proud of it.” Continue reading