Exposé Online banner

Randy Brecker & NDR Bigband - The Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra — Rocks
(Piloo PR010, 2019, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-09-20

Rocks Cover art

A couple of years ago I reviewed RandyPop! which was a live collection that served to highlight the wide range of pop artists whose records have featured Randy Brecker’s trumpet. With Rocks, we get another type of live career retrospective, this time covering Brecker’s own music. This energetic set with the NDR Bigband and Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra showcases Randy Brecker compositions from the funky Brecker Brothers albums, along with one from a previous solo album. Anyone familiar with the Brecker Brothers Band albums of the 70s knows that they had a distinctly funky take on the fusion of jazz and rock, creating music that was supremely tight rhythmically, very catchy, and not at all prone to some of the other qualities that 70s fusion is known for, like odd meters. With Brecker into his 70s, Rocks is manifest proof that he’s not slowing down with age. The NDR Bigband is stellar as always, with arranger Jörg Achim Keller’s work capturing the tunes very well, expanding to a full ensemble pieces that were originally done with much smaller groups. Right out of the gate, with “First Tune of the Set,” guitarist Bruno Muller gets to shine, with some crazy distorted lines, and Vladyslav Sendecki’s synthesizer solo is stellar as well. Former Passport drummer Wolfgang Haffner is at the kit, and David Sanborn contributes alto to three tracks. The high-energy-funk vibe is broken up by tracks that venture into latin rhythms (“Adina”) or more ballad-like moods (the great “Pastoral,” which features a nifty three-bass-clarinet section). Brecker himself, of course, gets solo spots on all tracks — it’s his album after all. Whether on trumpet or flugelhorn, he is spot on, with the confidence of a long career full of superb playing. Rocks could well function as a big band jazz album for people who don’t like big band jazz, and only the stuffiest traditionalist should have anything to complain about. If you’re at all interested in this great trumpeter, Rocks provides a great introduction to his work, but by all means seek out the Brecker Brothers Band albums of the 70s once you’ve digested this.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Randy Brecker, Ada Rovatti

More info
http://randybrecker.com/recordings/rocks/

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rapoon - Time Frost – Glacial movements indeed. On this release (as on many before), Rapoon (a.k.a. Robin Storey) creates atmospheric minimalist musical landscapes that pass the drone test, although on this particular...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues