Exposé Online banner

Randy Brecker — RandyPop!
(Piloo Records, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-11-22

RandyPop! Cover art

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.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Paul Simon, Todd Rundgren, Randy Brecker

Latest news

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Glass Hammer - Journey of the Dunadan – This debut album from a Floridian duo of multi-instrumentalists leaves a host of unanswered questions. First, after the '90s have already proven to be a prolific breeding ground for new and...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues