Saturday, January 27, 2018

Brian Bromberg - 1993 "Brian Bromberg"

Brian Bromberg (born December 5, 1960) is an American jazz bassist and record producer who performs on both electric and acoustic instruments. Though he tends to gravitate towards the genre of smooth jazz, Bromberg has released some straight-ahead jazz records in which he performs with a trio, and has even ventured into more rock-oriented jazz fusion territory as of late. His innovative and technically demanding style of playing extends to both electric and upright bass. On his acoustic bass albums, Bromberg performs jazzy interpretations of various pop and rock staples from the 1960s and '70s completely solo. Regarding his work with electric bass, Bromberg, among other bassists, helped popularize the piccolo bass, or bass with each string tuned an octave up, by releasing several albums in which he plays both the bass line and melody. For instance, upon first listen many will be surprised to learn that, although soaring guitar can be heard throughout the album, Bromberg's 2005 release Metal contains only Bromberg on two overdubbed basses, one of which is heavily effects-laden to make it sound like an electric guitar.

A very versatile acoustic and electric bassist capable of playing straight-ahead jazz, funk, and fusion, Brian Bromberg is also one of the few bassists to master the tapping technique made famous by Stanley Jordan, sometimes sounding like three bassists at once during his often-thunderous solos. Although he was a drummer at the age of 13, the following year Bromberg started classical lessons on bass. He developed quickly and by the time he was 19, he was part of Stan Getz's group. Bromberg has been a valuable sidemen with many bands since including those led by Horace Silver, Monty Alexander, Dizzy Gillespie, Richie Cole, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, and Freddie Hubbard.

He recorded his first album as a leader in 1986 (A New Day for the Black Hawk label) and has since led sessions for Intima and Nova. Into the next century, Brian Bromberg remained one of the most underrated bassists in jazz. That would change. Bromberg's initial albums as a leader were smooth jazz affairs, including 1986's A New Day, 1988's Basses Loaded, and 1989's Magic Rain, but he switched gears for 1991's It's About Time: The Acoustic Project, a more mainstream acoustic jazz record. The next release, though, 1993's self-titled Brian Bromberg, saw him return again to the smooth jazz feel of his earlier albums. Signing with Zebra Records, Bromberg released 1998's You Know That Feeling, which featured Rick Braun, Joe Sample, Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp, and other notables from the smooth jazz genre.
WoodBromberg next went back to straight jazz for 2002's Wood, followed by a tribute to bassist Jaco Pastorius -- simply titled Jaco -- a short time later in 2003. A sequel to Wood, Wood II, appeared in 2005, and Bromberg had clearly moved out of the box of his smooth jazz phase, particularly with the rapid-fire, amazing bass solos that made up Metal, which appeared later in 2005. He also became a highly sought after record producer, with several charting projects in his résumé.
It Is What It Is Continually stretching himself on bass, Bromberg moved farther outside of the box with 2009's It Is What It Is. The following year, he paid tribute to guitar legend Jimi Hendrix with Bromberg Plays Hendrix. He then gathered an all-star cast of musicians, including Alex Acuña, Randy Brecker, George Duke, Béla Fleck for 2012's Compared to That.
Full Circle Taking time out from his solo work, Bromberg appeared on albums by Till Brönner, Andrea Bocelli, Andreas Varady, and others. In 2016, he returned with Full Circle, which included guest appearances from Arturo Sandoval, Kirk Whalum, and others.

On his self-titled album for Nova, bassist Brian Bromberg employs a who's who of smooth jazz and fusion talent for a varied outing that runs the gamut. Kenny Rankin appears on the vocal version of the hit "Her Eyes, Her Heart," -- its instrumental is also included -- while guitarist Lee Ritenour, keyboard and programming whiz Jeff Lorber, and Kirk Whalum trade places with the likes of jazz harmonica boss Toots Thielemans and saxophone master Ernie Watts, who get in the groove too. Ivan Lins lends his vocal talents to a few numbers as well. In some ways, this is a very schizophrenic recording, though it works well. There are groovers like the opener "Summer Afternoon," which walks the jazz-funk tightrope, smooth cuts like the aforementioned, "My Brother," and "Intimadagé," and knotty fusion workouts such as "Tunnel Vision," and "Sedona," and even big groovers like "Yo!," with Thielemans, and Bob Boykin's "Bern City." What makes the album hold together so beautifully is sequencing. It's a big, glossy production handled by Bromberg's brother David (no relation to the American roots music master), but gives listeners a bit of everything.

Track listing:

01 Summer Afternoon 4:50
02 Bass Face 5:12
03 Her Eyes, Her Heart 4:59
04 My Brother 4:56
05 Tunnel Vision (For Miles) 4:59
06 I'll Be Around This Time 4:58
07 Intimadagé 4:50
08 Yo! 4:03
09 Bern City 4:03
10 Sedona 6:51
11 The Blessing 5:55
12 Her Eyes, Her Heart (Vocal Version) 4:59
13 My Bass 3:42

Personnel:

Brian Bromberg - Bass [Nylon String Piccolo Bass, 4-String Contra Bass, Stereo Panning String Bass, 4-String Bass, Tenor Bass, Nylon String Fretless Bass, Piccolo Bass, Fretless Bass, Stereo Panning String Piccolo Bass, Signature Peavey 4-String Bass]
Lee Ritenour - Acoustic Guitar
Jeff Lorber - Keyboards, Drum Programming
Joel Taylor - Drums
Paul Jackson Jr. - Rhythm Guitar
Toots Theilemans - Harmonica
Kirk Whalum - Tenor Saxophone
Everette Harp - Tenor Saxophone
Doug Webb - Tenor Saxophone
Michael Shapiro - Percussion
Marc Hugenberger - Piano, Programmed By [Keyboard Programming]
Bob Boykin - Rhythm Guitar
Mitchel Forman, Tom Zink - Keyboards
Bill Cantos,  Ivan Lins, Kenny Rankin - Voice
Tony Guerrero, Gary Grant - Trumpet
Ernie Watts - Saxophone
Bill Reichenbach  - Trombone

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