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.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more