Category: Brecker, Randy

2008 Jazz Police Interview with Randy Brecker

The JazzPolice website is filled with great content, including some interesting interviews. Here’s a 2008 discussion with trumpeter Randy Brecker. In the interview, conduvted by Joe Montague, the Jazz great reflects on a number of topics, including the delicate subject of his late brother Michael:

“It is hard for me to relate to Mike as an iconic figure in jazz, because to me he is still just my brother. It is hard for me to focus on how influential he was, even though I obviously know that he was. Foremost, I think of him as my brother. If I could get past that and look from afar like anyone else, I would say that he has to be one of the most influential jazz musicians, other than John Coltrane, because he had a real vision in mind, and he stuck to his artistic vision. He was one of the few guys, and I think partly because he had a big following, that was able to do musically pretty much whatever he wanted, and people didn’t try to channel him into doing something else. He will occupy a unique position in jazz history, and he certainly was one of the most popular saxophonists ever, but he could back it up, because the music had so much emotional depth,” says Brecker.

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Randy Brecker’s Uncut DownBeat Blindfold Test

Today is a 2008 Blindfold Test with with the trumpeter Randy Brecker. The famous co-leader of The Brecker Brothers, along with too many other recordings and gigs to mention, listens to a dozen cuts with Ted Panken, and then sums up the various trumpet players thusly:

All these records were very good. It’s a reality these days that it is harder to tell guys apart trumpetistically, because we all study out of the same books, and there’s a certain trumpetistic artistry that’s prevalent these days. So it’s harder to pick people apart, but that’s overshadowed by the musicianship on all these records, which was really excellent. That’s always my answer to the problem these days, when guys say, “Ah, too many guys sound alike.” I say the musicianship is so high it doesn’t matter.

Click here to read Randy Brecker’s Uncut DownBeat Blindfold Test

Randy Brecker On Piano Jazz

My week of posting interviews from NPR’s Piano Jazz show continues with a 2011 interview with the great trumpeter Randy Brecker and guest host and modern great Bill Charlap. From the site:

On this Piano Jazz session , Brecker discusses growing up in the musical proving ground of Philadelphia, and the influence that his father, an amateur pianist and songwriter, had on him and his brother, the late tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker. Randy Brecker began playing on the Philadelphia club scene while still in his teens. After moving to New York in 1966, he worked with groups ranging from Clark Terry’s Big Band to Blood Sweat and Tears

Brecker talks about the years he spent with the jazz-rock band Dreams, before striking out with his brother Michael to create their own, Grammy-winning band, The Brecker Brothers. “Some Skunk Funk” was one of their most successful tunes, and Brecker and company create a straight ahead rendition of the piece for Piano Jazz.

Composition also plays an important role for Brecker, though not in the academic sense. As he tells guest host Bill Charlap, “Some of the music is somewhat unusual harmonically because basically I was (writing) it by ear.” The band continues with “Moontide,” a modally-flavored original featuring blistering horn lines over a hypnotic rhythm pattern. To end the session, Charlap joins the band for an expansive exploration of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein favorite, “All the Things You Are.”

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