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

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jean-Philippe Goude - Drones – Jean Philippe Goude played keyboards in Bernard Paganotti’s band Weidorje until 1979. At that time he recorded Drones and involved the various musicians he had worked with: Klaus Blasquiz,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues