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Bebop Spoken There

Art Hirahara: "Playing with people is the most important thing to me, and not playing with people is torture." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

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11,772 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 912 of them this year alone and, so far, 49 this month (August 13).

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August

Thursday 20: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Friday, May 15, 2020

CD (double) Review: Brecker Brothers - Live and Unreleased

Randy Brecker (trumpet/vocal); Michael Brecker (tenor sax); Barry Finnerty (guitar); Mark Gray (keys); Neil Jason (bass); Richie Morales (drums).

I must admit that when the Brecker Brothers were at the height of their popularity my tastes were somewhat more temperate and I paid them little attention. However, these live, previously unreleased tracks from a 1980 concert in Hamburg, show me exactly what I was missing.

Fortunately, with maturity, my tastes have broadened and what seemed to me somewhat outré back then comes across as closer to the mainstream today. Jazz/rock/fusion/funk - call it what you may - they generated excitement by the bucket-load. Reminds me in some ways of northeast band King Bee,

Ten tracks, split over 2 CDs, the brothers show an incredible technique - Randy displaying the brilliance I remember from hearing him with SNJO in Edinburgh a few years back, Michael making sounds that Adolphe Sax never dreamed possible when he invented the instrument. Listen to them trading responses on The Sponge.

Finnerty on guitar is equally amazing - he and keyboardist Gray also trade on the same wild number. Jason and Morales are driving forces throughout with the latter having an extended solo on Baffled.

Funky Sea, Funky Dew lasts 18 minutes+ and has an extended cadenza by Michael about 10 minutes in that lasts for a couple of minutes before some subterranean sounds from the engine room join in - this is weird in a compelling sort of way.

The tracks are long and by the time I was midway through the second CD my interest had begun to wane. The punch was still there but it began to sound a bit samey and, whilst the horns maintained my interest, the grooves being laid down behind them began to grate although I wouldn't have wanted to miss Randy's solo on Inside Out. He also sings on the final track - Don't Get Funny With my Money

If the two albums had been issued individually I'd have bought Volume One and awaited eagerly for the follow up. However, hearing them as one is like having that extra drink too many or, if you're a teetotaller, that last cream cake.

Nevertheless, despite my reservations, it's a classic that all Brecker fans should crawl over burning coals for.
Lance.

Available from Piloo Records.

Strap Hangin'; Tee'd Off; Sponge; Funky Sea, Funky Dew; I Don't Know either; Inside Out; Baffled; Some Skunk Funk; East River; Don't Get Funny With my Money.

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