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It Is What It Is

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Album Review

Brian Bromberg's fourth recording for the Artistry label, and first since they were acquired by the Mack Avenue label, is a fairly predictable program of contemporary jazz, commercial funk, and pop song covers, as well as uptown New York City R&B-type dance tunes that should appeal to the urban crowd. His prominent electric bass guitar always has a retro feel going back to Ralphe Armstrong, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham, and James Jamerson, but retains a current-day feel that is still relevant, remaining skilled and precise as any bassist currently playing the amplified instrument. Many of these tracks include a horn section featuring Randy Brecker, Eric Marienthal, Gerald Albright, and Rick Braun, while keyboardists George Duke, Patrice Rushen, and Jeff Lorber join in here and there. While entertaining and even attractive from a melodic standpoint, Bromberg and his mates are reworking themes, beats, and songs without pushing the envelope, and make sure that the music is concise and constrained, and never boils over. The hippest selection is the opener/title track, very much in the Saturday Night Live neo-bop N.Y.C. funk and bop amalgam, with the horns blowing strong. Brecker's influence has a telling effect on this and the skunk funk "Elephants on Ice Skates." Bromberg instrumentally covers the B-52's' immortal hit "Love Shack" and perfectly renders the delightful, flute-driven, choogling theme from the television show Sanford and Son — both are definite highlights of the CD. On several tracks, Bromberg enjoys playing a bass solo on intros to set up themes, but he employs a marvelous chordal approach on "The Mirror" unaccompanied. The rest of the material ranges from disco to make-out music, with the get-down dance funk of "Mr. Miller"; the string-laden version of "Heaven"; and a spicy Latin, authentically sexy "Martinis at the Velvet Lounge?," hopped up by Wes Montgomery-type guitar chord progressions. The recording wanes as it goes along in intensity and musical intrigue, but is another typical Brian Bromberg project that his fans will likely enjoy as the crafted production it is. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

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...
Full Bio
It Is What It Is, Brian Bromberg
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