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Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Tony Levin Featured On New Brecker Bros Anthology

Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Tony Levin Featured On New Brecker Bros Anthology: Late August sees the long-awaited release of the Brecker Brothers’ entire catalog on Arista Records, titled The Brecker Brothers: The Complete Arista Albums Collection. The box set will contain the group’s six seminal albums released between 1975 and 1981, none of which have ever been released on CD in the US. Among the all-star musicians included on these albums are some of the best bassists of their generation, including Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Neil Jason, and Tony Levin. The box set contains new liner notes by Randy Brecker, rare photos and complete discographical info for all tracks. Two bonus albums are also included; in 1979 the band participated in all-star shows at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The band was Steve Khan, Tony Levin, Mike Mainieri and Steve Jordan, and  those recordings are part of this special box set as well.

About the Brecker Brothers: Trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonist Michael Brecker had already shared the bandstand and logged plenty of studio time together before they formed The Brecker Brothers. The siblings stood as a team with Horace Silver’s hard bop ensemble, the proto-fusion unit Dreams, and Billy Cobham’s early Crosswinds band, as well as on myriad studio dates for a panoply of artists from James Taylor to Parliament. By 1975 it was time for them to make their own mark. Gathering together some of the cream of the studio players that they were spending considerable time with, including saxophonist David Sanborn and bassist Will Lee, the brothers formed a tight combo that would integrate their taste for jazz, fusion, R&B, funk and pop. Right out of the box, they garnered a hit single, “Sneakin’ Up Behind You,” from their debut recording, Brecker Brothers, which also included the emblematic “Some Skunk Funk.”

Subsequent albums saw name players like guitarists Steve Khan and Hiram Bullock, keyboardist George Duke, bassist Marcus Miller and vocalist Luther Vandross making vital contributions. No matter how commercially oriented the music might veer, the solid playing of both Randy and Michael could be heard.  On such albums as the live recordings, Heavy Metal Bebop and the special project Blue Montreux, the brothers fully displayed their extraordinary technical skills and gutsy phrasing.  Combining jazz chops and R&B seasoning, both of the Breckers became important stylistic influences on their respective horns. In retrospect, the Brecker Brothers can be seen as dashing heroes, unafraid to follow wherever their muse lead them no matter what  straight-laced critics objected to. From today’s eclectic viewpoint, their up front blend of jazz and outright pop sounds was not only ahead of the curve, it was right up to the minute.

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