Randy Brecker — RandyPop!
(Piloo Records, 2015, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-11-22
It’s pretty much impossible to comprehend the number of albums that trumpeter Randy Brecker has appeared on. Discogs.com lists well over 700 credits for “Instruments & Performance,” and that list is surely incomplete – last time I checked, this album wasn’t listed, for example. It seems that any time a rock, pop, or R&B artist needed a horn section, Brecker was there, often along with his late brother Michael on sax. Lou Reed’s Berlin, Aerosmith’s Get Your Wings, Parliament’s Mothership Connection, Blue Öyster Cult’s Agents of Fortune… the list is near endless. As a kind of career retrospective, Brecker presents a live set of tunes by other artists, all united by the fact that he played trumpet on the original recording. The list includes Donald Fagen, Todd Rundgren, James Brown, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and many more, all treated to new arrangements, some of which stay pretty close to the originals, some of which stray pretty far. Aside from the choice of material, the main thing that sets this recording apart from any ordinary mainstream jazz set is the playing of Brecker himself. His solos are outstanding, and he often takes advantage of effects on his tone. This is something he started experimenting with back in the 70s, and it’s nice to see he hasn’t gone soft on us like so many innovators of the era. The other bright spot on RandyPop! is the guitar of Adam Rogers, which ventures into eyebrow-raising territory with some really outside playing and some crazy effects, providing a welcome respite from what is often very safe territory. Brecker introduces the songs with anecdotes about the original sessions. Jazz purists might object to the electronics and edgy guitar, but for me, they save this recording from becoming soporific easy-listening pablum.
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more