June 5th, 2012!
Brian Bromberg (www.brianbromberg.net) imbibes rarified air. The Grammy nominated bassist-producer-composer-arranger who has achieved accolades, respect and success critically and artistically in both straight-ahead and contemporary jazz will release three uniquely different, artistically divergent albums this summer. The first is “Compared To That”. It will be released June 5th.
“Compared To That” showcases Bromberg deploying walking basslines that swing. Performing on the more than 70 minutes of music that was recorded live over two days followed by three months of meticulous production work are accomplished musicians 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 produced the 10-track disc and wrote 8 new songs that comprise his 20th solo album. The album grooves from beginning to end. Bromberg’s aim was to make a live spontaneous jazz record utilizing state of the art recording technology. Highly produced like a big pop album, “Compared To That” is also improvised classic mainstream jazz. It’s honest, soulful and crafted with uncompromising integrity.
Hitting hard from the opening bars, the horn section powered title track swings like a rollicking big band number on which Bromberg’s piccolo bass dispenses fast and feisty guitarlike riffs. The bassist uses a variety of piccolo basses throughout “Compared To That” to croon lead melodies. Although they sound like guitar, guitar was only used on one track on the album. On the playfully titled “Rory Lowery, Private Eye,” the frenetic horn section mimics the piccolo bass lead on the sweaty, straight-ahead Spy vs. Spy workout that possesses a visceral air of mystery throughout the sprawling composition that is nearly 10 minutes long. Ponderous and gregarious, “If Ray Brown Was A Cowboy?” is the only track on the album performed by a trio: Bromberg on acoustic bass, Zink on piano and Colaiuta on drums. Massive in scope both compositionally and instrumentally, including strings by The Rising Sun Orchestra from Tokyo and Grammy winning violinist Bisharat, the frolicking call-and-response dialogue between Bromberg’s acoustic bass and Fleck’s jangly banjo is the focal point on “Hayride.” Changing directions entirely, “A Little New Old School” dishes up deep, horn ignited funk of the vintage variety with rich contributions from Brecker and Lorber. On the gorgeous “Forgiveness,” the orchestra adds depth and emotion to the cinematic melody sung somberly by Bromberg’s steel-string acoustic piccolo bass as Acuna’s unobtrusive percussion helps churn the groove. Snappy horns add sunshine to the first radio single, Bromberg’s coolly swinging version of the Chicago hit “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” Brecker’s muted trumpet helps spark the hard-charging “I’m Just Sayin’.” The usually jovial and energetically positive Bromberg found it difficult to solo on the dark, emotional and pensive “The Eclipse.” Brecker’s flugelhorn adds class to the astute, scholarly statements emanating from Duke’s piano. Bromberg loves covering the unexpected and he closes “Compared To That” with a very unlikely cut: an inventive, swinging rendition of the Rick James hit “Give It To Me Baby.”
The second album Bromberg will release this summer is a surprising 10-song collection of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix’s hits that was recorded without the use of a single guitar. In fact, it is just Bromberg and Colaiuta on “Bromberg plays Hendrix.” Taking another left turn to salute another 1960s seminal figure, “In The Spirit of Jobim” is comprised of five classics made famous by Brazilian legend Antonio Carlos Jobim and seven Bromberg compositions emulating Jobim’s style. Bromberg harnessed The Rising Sun Orchestra and surrounded himself with Brazilian musicians in an effort to foster authenticity. It’s a stunning and romantic collection. Both albums will be released July 17th.
Launching his professional career at age 18 with a stint touring with jazz sax titan Stan Getz, the versatile Bromberg has recorded, played and/or toured with legends and icons in all genres of jazz and popular music including Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn, Dave Grusin, Nancy Wilson, Sting, Elvis Costello, Steven Tyler, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Dianna Krall, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, George Benson, Bob James, Lee Ritenour, Kenny G, Chris Botti, Boney James, Dave Koz and many more. In 2007, he garnered a Grammy nomination for his “Downright Upright” album.