March 29, 2005

A quartet of Choices from the prodigious Bromberg

Four diverse album releases showcase the versatility and virtuosity of one of music’s most respected bassists

Acclaimed musician-producer Brian Bromberg recently released his thirteenth solo album, Metal, through the Artistry Music record label and the prolific, diverse and uniquely gifted bassist has three more albums – Choices , It’s About Time, and Brian Bromberg - scheduled for re-release over the next few months. One would be hard pressed to find another artist who moves between musical genres with such aplomb and has deservedly garnered the same level of respect and praise from fellow musicians and the media as Bromberg has. Within the jazz arena, Bromberg has maneuvered back and forth amongst the hard-line traditional jazz world and the commercial contemporary jazz genre with unequaled grace and accomplishment. His partnership in the new Artistry Music label has provided him the rare opportunity to explore his creative muse in new musical directions as well as give a second chance to some of his previous releases, which warrant another listen.

Bromberg calls last year’s Choices album the best smooth jazz album he’s ever recorded. The collection will be reissued by Artistry Music on May 24. Produced by Bromberg, who wrote or co-wrote the music, the album was revamped after the meticulous professional went back to the lab to make it even better. Half of the record was remixed and the entire disc was re-mastered. The title track, featuring Bromberg on his guitar-sounding piccolo bass accompanied by keyboardist Jeff Lorber, will be serviced to smooth jazz radio. One song on the original album was replaced with “Relentless,” a smooth jazz radio hit featuring sax star Richard Elliot. The track originally appeared on the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards CD and was never before released on a Bromberg album.                  

Metal marks new territory for Bromberg. The answer to his award-winning 2002 release, Wood, the collection is a truly unique rock fusion record that astoundingly was recorded without guitars. All the melodies and rhythms that sound like guitars were played by Bromberg on a piccolo bass. Although you’d never know it by listening to the album, it was recorded by just Bromberg and drummer Joel Taylor, along with keyboardist Dan Siegel, who appears on two tracks. Bromberg produced and composed the material, which recalls guitar gods and rock fusion greats. The record is unlike anything that’s been done before and captures an entirely new dimension of the virtuoso bass player, who unveiled the B2 line of basses that he designed with Dean Guitars at January’s NAMM convention. Jim Roberts, founding editor of Bass Player magazine and author of American Basses, wrote in the album’s liner notes, “And when it comes to hearing it all, and playing it all, nobody does it better than Brian Bromberg… Maybe I’m prejudiced, but you can always tell that Brian is a bass player at heart – even his most wailing ‘guitar’ solos display the logic that comes from a deep knowledge of harmony. And you can tell that he knows jazz, too, because of his attention to thematic development and contrasting solo voices.”

It’s About Time was Bromberg’s “first real hardcore, New York-kind-of-jazz record that is still approachable,” according to the musician, who produced the acoustic project in 1991. Scheduled to be re-released on April 5, the album has been remixed and re-mastered and now sounds as if it was recorded with today’s state-of-the-art digital recording and mastering equipment. Bromberg, who recorded the collection while playing a 300-year-old acoustic bass, was joined on the record by such jazz stalwarts as Freddie Hubbard, Ernie Watts, Mike Garson, Mitchell Forman and David Bromberg.        

Mining his extensive catalogue even further, Bromberg’s 1993 self-titled album will be re-released this summer (date soon to be announced). It’s a Bromberg-produced smooth jazz collection that boasts guest appearances by Jeff Lorber, Lee Ritenour, Kirk Whalum, and Toots Thielemans.  “One of the greatest things about having our own record label is having the opportunity to reissue some of my music that may have slipped through the cracks for a variety of reasons,” said Bromberg. “It’s important that we give this music the chance to be heard.”

Earlier this year, Bromberg earned his first gold record for the production work he did on Chris Botti’s When I Fall in Love album.  Bromberg is a much in demand producer after the success he’s had producing Jeff Kashiwa, Richard Smith, Kim Waters , Alan Broadbent, and Jeff Berlin, amongst others.

Bromberg, along with soul singer-songwriter Rahsaan Patterson, their long-time manager Lucille Hunt and veteran marketing executive Denny Stilwell launched Artistry Music earlier this year with the release of Patterson’s third album, After Hours. Based in Los Angeles, the label is distributed in the United States by Ryko Distribution. 

Posted by Peter Böhi at March 29, 2005 7:36 PM