Berks Jazz Fest 2007: Brian Bromberg

Berks07_Bromberg.jpgDue to the fact that the concert of Dave Brubeck had to be postponed because of health problems it was Brian Bromberg and band to open this year's 17th annual Berks Jazz Festival. It was snowing outside, the roads were covered with snow and driving conditions were difficult, this led to a late arrival of the band who were driving all day down from Boston to Reading. This led to a considerable delay, but the friendly crowd was patiently waiting in the lobby of the Sheraton hanging around, having a drink and chatting with friends. Past 11pm the band was set up, sound check done and ready to play. Brian Bromberg exclusively played his upright acoustic bass for the night, but this didn't mean that we had to do without some groovy and funky playing. The leader held his stellar band together and provided a great selection of tracks from his current album Downright Upright, many of them covers of classic jazz tunes like Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon" and "Cantaloupe Island", Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" or Eddie Harris' "Cold Duck Time". The band was tight, especially outstanding was drummer Dave Weckl who never missed a beat and impressed with some complex and varied playing. On keyboards was Jeff Lorber who did well in the more straight ahead context of this set on acoustic piano and keyboards, I especially liked the smooth "Slow Burn" with its laid back groove. Legendary Randy Brecker on trumpet and Gary Meek on sax completed the lineup, both delivered great solos and tight horn lines. The concert was brought to an end with the composition "Shag Carpet" giving the band ample room to deliver the good stuff. This was a satisfying concert and a great start of this year's festival which holds many more highlights to come.