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Album Review

The epitome of cool, the Brecker Brothers were one of best-selling jazz fusion outfits of the mid-'70s to the early '80s. Randy Brecker (trumpet/flügelhorn) and Michael Brecker (tenor sax) were ubiquitous session players and also members of the New York band Dreams. By the mid-'70s, they started recording under their own name. Their subsequent albums, The Brecker Brothers, Don't Stop the Music, and the live Heavy Metal Be-Bop all find the group doing challenging melodies in a genre that often played it too stupid. Detente finds them during a time when jazz playing was starting to get more lucrative. Keyboardist and producer George Duke was behind the boards for Detente. Although the Brecker Brothers and Duke are probably mainstays in any jazz fusion collection, their styles aren't analogous. Some of the tracks here clearly prove that point. "You Ga (Ta Give It)" and "Not Tonight" both come off as a little too radio-friendly. Not surprisingly, the best cuts here have both the classic intelligent Brecker Brothers sound as well as George Duke's production prowess. The sophisticated and funky "Tee'd Off" gets the Brecker Brothers on more familiar terrain and features a sinewy guitar solo from the underrated Hiram Bullock. The highly charged "Squish" and "Baffled" both display Randy Brecker's singular arranging skills. "Dream Theme," arranged by Michael Brecker, is the album's best song, reflective yet not melancholy, with his saxophone felt and flawless throughout. The last track, "I Don't Know Either," has solos from both of the Brecker Brothers, and displays the level of skill that many jazz outfits simply didn't possess. Detente features work from a litany of jazz players, including Neil Jason and Steve Jordan in addition to Duke. Despite a few lukewarm tracks, Detente is well worth picking up.


Formed: 1974 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

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...
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Detente, The Brecker Brothers
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