Oct 22, 2015
It may be hard for many of us who learned about Jazz from the recordings of Michael and Randy Brecker to accept that Michael is gone, and that Randy will turn 70 years old in November. He must have a recent taste for nostalgia, as he reassembled many of his jazz buddies for a Brecker Brothers Band Reunion CD/DVD set in 2013, and now goes back to his days as a first-call studio “cat“ who could play any music or write any chart a producer or artist needed. Randy’s reputation was well-earned, considering the timeless recordings featuring his trumpet, including iconic albums by Frank Zappa, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, James Brown and Bruce Springsteen. The album is called RandyPOP! and it’s already a favorite of mine.
What makes this more than a look back at past glory are the “derangements” of memorable pop tunes by Kenny Werner, who refuses to simply cover a song. Instead, there are key, tempo and meter shifts, along with time to stretch out for memorable solos. And what a band Brecker has put together for this live recording: Werner ( Piano, Keys), David Sanchez (Tenor Saxophone), Adam Rogers (Guitar), John Patitucci (Bass), and Nate Smith (Drums).
Brecker’s daughter Amanda lends powerful vocals to several of the tunes, most notably on “New Frontier”, which Werner has dramatically altered in time, making a hard song even more difficult to sing. Watch for a new project from her next year in collaboration with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel.
Podcast 502 is my conversation with Randy, where he tells some of the best stories you will hear in a podcast this year – how the Brecker Brothers Band came together, why he left Blood, Sweat & Tears before their ultimate commercial success, and fly-on-the-wall accounts of sessions with Parliament (Mothership Connection) and writing horn charts for Bruce Springsteen (Born to Run).
Musical selections from RandyPop! include “Let Me Just Follow Behind” (originally recorded by Bette Midler) and a dramatic “Think/I’ve Got a Bag of My Own” medley with spoken intro by Randy. Past glories are highlighted with the Brecker Brothers Band’s “Sneakin’ Up Behind You” and the dynamic horn section of Randy and Michael Brecker, Wayne Andre and David Sanborn playing the classic chart for “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” from Born to Run.