Randy Brecker – 34th N Lex

Randy BreckerRandy Brecker
34th N Lex
(Esc – 2003)
by John Thompson

This CD cooks!! “34th N Lex” is a bad mother “Shut your mouth!” Randy Brecker(t) got skillz. Gotta tell you how the music on this CD relates to my last Saturday evening.

Imagine going to a cookout and seeing teens through 40’s in perfect harmony, playing dominos, eating BBQ ribs, chicken, potato salad, and groovin’ to some serious mature tunes(R&B,70’s soul, blues, funk, smooth & rough jazz). Not one single teen or 20 something complained about the music, because there was enough for everyone. Which brings me back to Brecker’s 34 N Lex.

16 musicians play throughout the 11 tracks, including brother Michael(ts)Ronnie Cuber(bsax), David Sanborn(ts), and former Horny Horns-JB’s great, Fred Wesley(tb).Smokin’ funky stuff, finger popin’ and some more. Randy has made his mark in the mentioned musical categories for about 30 years, from James Brown-George Clinton to Billy Cobham-Herbie Hancock, and continues to convey these influences with these chosen tracks.

All of these tunes are sound with strong musicianship in all aspects: Cuber’s funky solo on the title tune (Homer Simpson’s daughter Lisa would be proud), Adam Rogers'(g) nice work on the Les McCann “Compared to What” like “Shanghigh”, Tower Of Power feeling “Let It Go,” the two classic style Jazz pieces, “Forgone Conclusion” and my favorite, the Bop-styled “Tokyo Freddie” ( Randy kickin’ much butt, and Chris Minh Doky really layin’ the foundation down), and my second favorite, which is waaay to damn funky for smooth jazz stations, “Give it up,” with Gary Haase(b) funkin’ up the joint and Wesley adding his grease.

My only wish for this CD would be the elimination of programming instead of real instruments, but still, I’ll say this: 5 well planned, funky and groove-filled stars.