THE BRECKER BROTHERS

Funk Jazz • United States
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In the '70s, brothers Michael and Randy Brecker co-led a band of New York session big shots that included, at various times, David Sanborn, Don Grolnick, Will Lee, and George Duke, among others. When they chose, the Brecker Brothers Band could be one of the most intelligent and creative fusion outfits. Chief composer/trumpeter Randy's best tunes were structurally unpredictable, melodically intricate, and harmonically complex, inside/out bop heads played in an impossibly precise manner over a bed of funk rhythms. Unlike the bulk of jazz-funk (then and now), the Breckers -- on their first record, at least -- kept the pandering to a minimum. Though it had a certain commercial appeal, 1975's Back to Back was an artistic success as well. The Brothers' music was a smart combination of extended pop forms, top-notch jazz improvisation, and sophisticated compositional techniques. On later albums, the temptation to sell lots of records apparently became read more...
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THE BRECKER BROTHERS Discography

THE BRECKER BROTHERS albums / top albums

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Brecker Bros. album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Brecker Bros.
Funk Jazz 1975
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Back to Back album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Back to Back
Funk Jazz 1976
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Don't Stop the Music album cover 2.45 | 2 ratings
Don't Stop the Music
Funk Jazz 1977
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Detente album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Detente
Funk Jazz 1980
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Straphangin' album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Straphangin'
Funk Jazz 1981
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Return of the Brecker Brothers album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Return of the Brecker Brothers
Funk Jazz 1992
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Out of the Loop album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Out of the Loop
Funk Jazz 1994

THE BRECKER BROTHERS EPs & splits

THE BRECKER BROTHERS live albums

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Heavy Metal Be-Bop album cover 4.12 | 5 ratings
Heavy Metal Be-Bop
Funk Jazz 1978
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Bottom Line Archive Series: 1976 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bottom Line Archive Series: 1976
Funk Jazz 2015
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Live and Unreleased album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live and Unreleased
Funk Jazz 2020

THE BRECKER BROTHERS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

THE BRECKER BROTHERS re-issues & compilations

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Collection / Volume One album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Collection / Volume One
Funk Jazz 1990
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Score album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Score
Funk Jazz 1991
THE BRECKER BROTHERS The Brecker Bros. Collection, Vol. 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Brecker Bros. Collection, Vol. 2
Funk Jazz 1991
THE BRECKER BROTHERS East River album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
East River
Funk Jazz 1997
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Priceless Jazz Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Priceless Jazz Collection
Funk Jazz 1999
THE BRECKER BROTHERS Original Album Classics album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Original Album Classics
Funk Jazz 2009
THE BRECKER BROTHERS The Complete Arista Albums Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Arista Albums Collection
Funk Jazz 2012
THE BRECKER BROTHERS The Essential Brecker Brothers album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential Brecker Brothers
Funk Jazz 2015

THE BRECKER BROTHERS singles (0)

THE BRECKER BROTHERS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Reviews

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Don't Stop the Music

Album · 1977 · Funk Jazz
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Sean Trane
Third album from the BB, and one that took unashamedly the radio-friendly route, ranging from disco, to brassy funk to everything an Arista label band had to lower themselves to. Indeed, in the late 70’s, Arista became responsible for the downgrade of excellent early 70’s artistes that had to keep surviving and had to resort to signing a contract with them. Very few bands came unscathed from this disastrous passage through the label, and the BB didn’t make an exception. The BB band didn’t seem to have a stable line-up then and among the guests, we hear Steve Kahn (guitars), Lenny White and Steve Gadd (both drums), alongside the mainstays of Grolnick, Lee and McDonald and, of course, Michael and Randy.

Right from the first disco beat of the opening Finger Lickin’ Good and the title track opening the flipside, one can only think of an atrociously kitschy disco. Along the soppy side of their spectrum, we have As Long As I’ve Got Your Love or the no-less cheesy instrumental Petals provide romantic mood (both filled with string arrangements), but are not completely without merits. Indeed some instrumental tracks like Funky Sea or the album-longest instrumental Squids were highly enjoyable, but drowned in a sea of radio-friendly brassy disco that flooded the airwaves and the nightclubs. The closing lengthy Tabula Rasa again presents a fast funk-fusion where the brothers add a slight Spanish brassy touch.

Well the present album is not as bad as I would tend to make it appear, but it is mainly plagued by those two binary disco tune, that automatically lessen the album’s appeal, but the other two string-laden tracks do not help either. Still mildly interesting, but IMHO, not really worth the detour.

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Brecker Bros.

Album · 1975 · Funk Jazz
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Sean Trane
Well, those reading my embarrassing blunders that serve this site as reviews, they will know that I’m a JR/F fan and enjoy most (if not all) of what came between 69 and 75. However the Brecker Brothers is definitely I band I could do without, because I’ve always found their ultra-technical and complex funk-fusion rather unmoving intellectually. Oh sure, their music is extremely well-made and somewhat very danceable, but it’s often closer to Chic or the Pharoah/EW&F than it is to Mwandishi or early Weather Report… Different eras indeed, but that’s always been my point (or Achilles’ heel, if you wish). And the BB definitely belong sonically to the second half of the 70’s. In the band’s early line-up, we find the future sax star Sanborn, the by-now old-hand Harvey Mason on drums and Grolnick on keys.

Indeed, there are ultra-clean mothering funks on the album, like the opening Skunk Funk or the following Sponge, or Rocks and DBB on the flipside, all of them with impressive techniques and virtuosity, but that also lack soul (which is kind of weird for funk music). Is it the fault that the production is too clean, too slick? Most likely, à mon humble opinion. Don’t get me wrong, there are some delightful moments on the album, but unfortunately, there is often something that doesn’t click all that well for me. Even when their 100 MPH music does slow down like in the Many-Faced Creature, the feel is rather cold and slick, instead of suave and sweaty. The album’s better tracks are conga-filled Twilight

On the flipside, five relatively shorter tracks, with only the opening Sneaking Up Behind You nearing 5 minutes, and I believe this was the “hit” back then, and also the only sung track, with somewhat average and semi-scatting but still-catchy War-like vocals, laid over some strings synth layers. The following Rocks might have been renamed Funks, because that 150 MPH muze will certainly funk up with your brains, but maybe too much for your own good. The problem is that when BB really slows down, they tend to fall asleep and they’re contagious, and the Levitate more or less Gravitates, and the following soppy and sappy sung My Stars really dropped shamelessly below the ground level, leaving DBB give a honest closing to the debut album.

Well theoretically, an instrumental JR/F album from the mid-70’s should still please me, and in a way, it does. But there was such an over-production of these vinyl plaques during those years, that I’m simply never in need or feel to play any of BB’s albums, outside maybe once in a decade their debut (and presently reviewed) album. So if indeed one must investigate the BB, starting with the first two albums is the best (and only, IMHO) place to start, because by their third album, BB were not much more than a technically brilliant AOR (read radio-friendly) band without much interest to the demanding fusionheads.

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Heavy Metal Be-Bop

Live album · 1978 · Funk Jazz
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js
This isn’t the most subtle album out there, but if you are looking for a very aggressive set of rockin funk jazz played by superb instrumental technicians, this might be the one. Funk with hard rock aggression and jazz virtuosity had really become the flavor of choice for many technique laden artists in the mid 70s including Stanley Clarke, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Billy Cobham, Funkadelic, Mother’s Finest and many more. There is no doubt that this style would come naturally to the Breckers as they had been guest performers on many of the albums by the previously mentioned artists.

The playing on here is superb, Randy and Micheal both play with fierce aggression and high speed dexterity. As the album title suggests, they are attempting to merge the power of metal with the demanding technique of bop. Both Breckers also utilze the technology of the day to great effect as they supplement their horns with echoplexes, wah-wah pedals and chorus units. Another plus is the technical and high speed drumming technique of Terry Bozzio.

There are a couple of tunes on here that take a shot at something a little more subtle, ‘Funky Sea, Funky Dew’ starts off as a ballad before heading straight to a heavy funk jam, and ‘Squids’ has some nice Latin touches in the verse before it too succumbs to the adrenaline fueled energy.

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