Brecker Brothers Band Reunion: Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, & More
Randy Brecker, trumpet
Mike Stern, guitar
Rodney Holmes, drums
Ada Rovatti, saxophone
George Whitty, keyboards
Will Lee, bass
Oli Rockberger, vocals & keyboards
Long regarded as one of jazz's pioneering fusion outfits, The Brecker Brothers boasted two of the best players in the music's history: trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonist Michael Brecker. Together they forged a sound that became a template for modern electric jazz, scoring that rare double-headed achievement of commercial and artistic success.
Founded in 1975, The Brecker Brothers were one of the first acts signed to the then-fledgling Arista Records. Recording six albums and garnering seven Grammy nominations from 1975-1982, the band enjoyed immeasurable influence with its smart combination of musical devices: sophisticated compositions, intricate melodies, and inside-out bop heads played over funk rhythms. These elements, along with Randy's virtuosic trumpet work and Michael's burning saxophone playing and innovative work on the EWI ("electronic wind instrument"), combined to attract some of the finest players on the scene to join the band: Terry Bozzio, Steve Gadd, Steve Khan, Will Lee, Chris Parker, David Sanborn, Mike Stern, Dave Weckl, and Lenny White, among others.
After a hiatus of nearly a decade, The Brecker Brothers reunited in 1992 for the GRP album Return of the Brecker Brothers, which earned three Grammy nominations. The band completed a world tour and then returned to the studio in 1994 to record Out of the Loop, which won two Grammy Awards – one for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, and one for Best Instrumental Composition for Michael's "African Skies." On tour once more, they became the first international contemporary jazz group to perform in mainland China, including sold-out shows in Beijing and Shanghai.
Even now, two decades after their storied '90s reunion, The Brecker Brothers remain one of the seminal bands in the history of jazz. As Chuck Berg declared in JazzTimes, "[Recordings of The Brecker Brothers'] music still crackle with the magnetic brand of high-energy, high tech virtuoso playing [and] writing that characterizes the work of the Philadelphia-bred duo to this day ... The kind of pivotal role played by Bird in bebop, or Miles in modal improvisation, is similar to that played by the Breckers vis-à-vis jazz-funk."
Though Michael Brecker died in 2007, tonight's performance at the Blue Note finds trumpeter Randy Brecker inviting to the stage many of those key musicians who helped forge The Brecker Brothers' timeless sound.
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