Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Brecker Brothers - 1978 "Heavy Metal Be-Bop"

Heavy Metal Be-Bop is a live album by the American jazz fusion group, the Brecker Brothers that was released by Arista Records in 1978. The album also includes the studio track "East River", which reached number 34# in the UK singles chart in November 1978.

Recorded live in New York, this explosive set of jazz, funk, and rock material was without question ahead of its time. Michael and Randy's use of electronically altered saxophone and trumpet sounds is amazing. 

This is just an absolute JEWEL. Zappa fans will recognize Terry Bozzio in addition to the Brecker brothers themselves, and MAN, what a combo! Michael Brecker just shreds on every solo, and Randy finds nuances with the "electric trumpet" that have never been heard before or since. Some will want this for the novelty of the electric tenor sax and trumpet, but there are FINE examples of modern BeBop solos here, over a high-powered rhythm section that kicks and jumps all over everything the soloists lay down. This is the kind of rhythm section that can make ANYBODY sound good, but the Brecker brothers talent is unmatched; a combination that presents an order of magnitude. Bass players NEED to hear Neil Jason, and guitar players NEED to hear Barry Finnerty on this. Blistering tight unison lines will prove once again why Zappa saved his most intricate horn passages for these guys, and why you won't hear them at tempo with anybody else. I sincerely hope for more of this largely unexplored flavor of jazz. I haven't found anything else that quite measures up to this.

"Heavy Metal Be-Bop" is a land mark fusion recording. The first tune is from the studio and the rest are recorded from a smoking live set. "East River" is the studio tune and is vocal. The song has a funky bassline and is fun but compared to the rest of the disc it is out of place. The rest of the disc is unreal. The band consists of Neal Jason on bass, Barry Finnerty on guitar, Terry Bozzio on drums, Michael Brecker on Sax, and Randy Brecker on trumpet. "Inside Out" is a Randy Brecker tune and Randy, Michael and Barry all have some fun with it. The tune is basic (For the Brecker Brothers) and they all play over the groove set by Bozzio/Jason. "Some Skunk Funk" is another Randy Brecker composition and a classic. This is one of the funkiest tunes that I have ever heard and the brothers play some of the greatest horn lines that you will ever hear. There are also some unison lines and the power of the band is on par with metal. "Sponge" is another funky piece and it features the explosive drumming of Bozzio. The band trades fours throughout Bozzio's rhythmic wizardry. "Funky sea, Funky Dew' is a Michael Brecker extravaganza. He takes the studio version and improves on it. Not only is his playing during the song great but there is a solo at the end that is amazing and then he is joined by just the bass of Jason which elevates him to a level that is beyond words. "Squids" is the closer to this set and has the brothers ,once again, playing over some serious funk. This disc is one of the greatest I've ever heard and is the greatest Horn orientated fusion disc ever. I only wish that there were more than five live songs but those five are worth any price. As highly recommended as anything can be.

This is the most incredible music ever, no BB album has surpassed this. A live album with Terry Bozzio having just joined the band after leaving Frank Zappa. The version of Some Skunk Funk is worth the whole price. Phenomenal! Will leave you out of breath and panting for more. One studio track kind of ok, an attempt at top 40, but the rest is - wow! Line up is guitar, bass, drums and Breckers. Randy plays some organ and uses a harmonizer to add 5ths and 4ths to his trumpet, so it sounds like more than just 2 horn players. Just hard to imagine what this would have been like to see live. Too bad it wasn't a double album when it was released in the late 70's. I want more of this! 

Tracks Listing

1.East River (3:38)
2.Inside Out (9:32)
3.Some Skunk Funk (7:01 )
4.Sponge (6:24)
5.Funky Sea,Funky Dew (8:03)
6.Squids (7:57 )

Total Time 41:55

Personnel:

- Randy Brecker / electric trumpet, keyboards
- Michael Brecker / electric tenor sax
- Barry Finnerty / guitars, GuitarGanizer, background vocals
- Terry Bozzio / drums, background vocals
- Neil Jason / bass, lead vocals

Additional Musicians

- Sammy Figueroa / percussion
- Rafael Cruz / percussion
- Kask Monet / handclaps, percussion, background vocals
- Jeff Schoen / background vocals
- Roy Herring / background vocals
- Paul Schaeffer / fender rhodes
- Victoria / tambourine
- Alan Schwartzberg / drums
- Bob Clearmountain & friends / handclaps

5 comments:

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  2. I have had this in one form or another since 1978. If you are able to ignore the first track then what follows is possibly the best recording they ever did together. Brilliant live versions of some of their greatest tracks.

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  3. Amazing post. Nice information. I have recently bought an electronic guitar online from Musikshack.com. This is a great place to buy best quality branded musical instruments with affordable price. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

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  4. Some Skunk Funk really set the tone for the early BBs. The original studio version came from Billy Cobham Funky Thide of Sings - a fantastic disk someone should post...

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