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Downright Upright

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Album Review

One glance at the personnel, which includes such popular "smooth" players as tenors Kirk Whalum and Boney James, trumpeter Rick Braun, and pianists George Duke and Jeff Lorber, could easily lead one to believe that this CD is filled with vacuous and mildly soulful background music. Actually, the playing on Downright Upright is a surprise, for most of the selections are reasonably creative renditions of soul-jazz. Four songs ("Cantaloupe Island," "Mercy Mercy Mercy," "Cold Duck Time" and "Chameleon") are standards given rightfully soulful treatments, and most of Bromberg's originals are worthwhile although a couple veer close to smooth. Most listeners knew that Kirk Whalum could play worthwhile jazz if placed in that context but the fine solos of Boney James and particularly Jeff Lorber will surprise many.

Less of a surprise is the virtuosic bass solos of Brian Bromberg, a master at tapping. None of the music on Downright Upright would be considered innovative and the style itself is more than 30 years old, but to hear these pop/jazz musicians challenging each other a bit is fun. One wishes that they did it more often. This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

Biography

Born: 1960 in Tucson, AZ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

A very versatile acoustic and electric bassist capable of playing straight-ahead jazz, funk, and fusion, Brian Bromberg is also one of the few bassists to master the tapping technique made famous by Stanley Jordan, sometimes sounding like three bassists at once during his often-thunderous solos. Although he was a drummer at the age of 13, the following year Bromberg started classical lessons on bass. He developed quickly and by the time he was 19, he was part of Stan Getz's group. Bromberg has been...
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Downright Upright, Brian Bromberg
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