Brian Bromberg – Wood

Brian BrombergBrian Bromberg

(A440 Music Group – 2002)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.

It looks as if Brian Bromberg, a member in good standing with the Smooth-Jazz Mafia may actually have been working undercover for the jazz police. With the release of his new CD Wood A440 Music Group has just blown his cover. It seems he was caught performing the eleven tracks entirely on an 18th century Matteo Guersam Italian made upright bass, working with a trio! Playing acoustic music, even!

Seriously folks… Brian shows another side to his musical personality here and I was pleasantly surprised. Performing with his brother David Bromberg on drums and Randy Waldman on piano the trio puts down some very tight tracks with not a trace of smooth jazz influence. Herbie Hancock’s Dolphin Dance is delightful as Brian takes the lead, strumming and dancing on the strings. When Bromberg does the Beatle’s classic Come Together all by himself, popping the strings and patting the case as his own accompaniment, your foot begins to tap and your finger starts popping right along with him.

Goodbye {for my father}, the sole original track on the CD, is a slow and pensive piece with some sweet piano work by Waldman. Freedom Jazz Dance is another example of Bromberg standing out there all alone, giving expression and life to Eddie Harris’ tune with absolutely no accompaniment. He does it even better on Miles’ All Blues, playing the melody AND bass at the same time! This is a sweet piece of work.

The trio also covers standards like I Love You, Days of Wine and Roses and Straight, No Chaser with the same accomplished professionalism, giving the other players opportunity to showcase their own talents as well. Brian finishes up with a solo bass version of The Star Spangled Banner that would make Jimi Hendrix proud. Just like Jimi, Bromberg took the Anthem and made it his, cajoling his bass into putting the song out with feeling and snazz.

Kudos to A440 Music and Kent Anderson for coming up with this idea. In an era when we’ve got smooth jazz albums covering hip-hop tracks, and smooth jazz albums covering R&B tracks, it’s nice to see a smooth jazz artist still doing classic jazz, and doing it well.

For more information visit the A440 Music Group web site.