Brian Bromberg: 3 New Albums Plus Bass Radio Station… Like a power hitter enjoying an exceptional day at the plate, Brian Bromberg (www.brianbromberg.net) imbibes rarified air. The Grammy nominated bassist-producer-composer-arranger who has achieved accolades, respect and success commercially and artistically as a solo artist in both straight-ahead and contemporary jazz will release three uniquely different, artistically divergent albums this summer. First up is “Compared To That,” which was released today by Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Records.
“Compared To That” showcases Bromberg deploying walking basslines that swing on his 20th solo album, which he produced and wrote 8 new songs. The album grooves from beginning to end. It’s honest, soulful and crafted with uncompromising integrity. Performing on the more than 70 minutes of music that was recorded live over two days followed by three months of meticulous production work are accomplished musicians Alex Acuna, Gannin Arnold, Charlie Bisharat, Randy Brecker, Vinnie Colaiuta, George Duke, Bela Fleck, Mitch Forman, Larry Goldings, Jeff Lorber, Gary Meek and Tom Zink. Bromberg’s aim was to make a live spontaneous jazz record utilizing state of the art recording technology. Highly produced like a big pop album, “Compared To That” is still improvised classic mainstream jazz. The first single, Bromberg’s coolly swinging version of the Chicago hit “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?,” is rapidly rising on radio stations’ playlists.
On deck, Bromberg will uncork a surprising 10-song collection of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix’s hits that was recorded without the use of a single guitar. In fact, it is just Bromberg and drummer Colaiuta on “Bromberg plays Hendrix.” On his third at bat, Bromberg takes another left turn to salute another 1960s seminal figure. “In The Spirit of Jobim” is comprised of five classics made famous by Brazilian legend Antonio Carlos Jobim and seven Bromberg compositions emulating Jobim’s style. Bromberg harnessed The Rising Sun Orchestra and surrounded himself with Brazilian musicians in an effort to foster authenticity. It’s a stunning and romantic collection. Both albums will be released July 17th.
Pointing to the outfield bleachers prepared to slug a homer, Bromberg recently launched Bass on the Broadband (www.bassonthebroadband.com), the world’s first radio station devoted to the art of the electric and acoustic bass. The venture provides an outlet for bass players throughout the globe to have their music heard by an audience that appreciates the bass.
“Most bass players will never get airplay or a record deal and I’ve been blessed to always have both. Bass on the Broadband is about the instrument. It’s an enormous undertaking, but nothing like it exists for bass players. They don’t have any outlets exclusively devoted to playing the music of bassists, which blew me away, thus we’re building it from the ground up. We air music and video clips featuring the greatest bassists in all genres of music, including submissions from all over the world from amateurs. I’ve also been talking to some prominent bass players about hosting a show on the station,” said Bromberg oozing enthusiasm for the labor of love project.
Below are excerpts from some of the early reviews of “Compared To That.”
The Entertainment Bank – “Brian Bromberg’s new CD, ‘Compared To That’ is a classic in the making that’s done by a master who is surrounded by others of equal skill, but on different instruments. The new 10-track CD, which will be released on June 5th by the Grammy nominated bassist/producer/composer/arranger who has played with everyone who’s anyone in the world of music, is absolutely phenomenal. Never has a bass sounded so good! With jazz royalty artists like Alex Acuna, Gannin Arnold, Charlie Bisharat, Randy Brecker, Vinnie Colaiuta, George Duke, Bela Fleck, Mitch Forman, Larry Goldings, Gary Meek, and Tom Zink recording the album live in a two-day jam session with Bromberg, the CD was destined for greatness and did not miss the mark…You’ll find folk jazz, classic jazz, smooth jazz, jazz fusion, and everything else you can think of or would like to hear on this album. The hybrid of styles and samples is amazing, and Bromberg’s range in both playing and composing is exceptional and unique…The bottom line is, ‘Compared To That’ is simply incomparable. Surrounded by a group of musicians who hold up their end of the jazz bandwagon, Bromberg is free to let his creative juices flow, and he does it with style and finesse. This is the music of a man who is at the top of his game.”
The Smooth Jazz Ride – “Brian Bromberg, the man of a thousand basses, as well as a man of a million ideas and as many ways of musically expressing them, has again escorted his ideas outside the box, again refusing to color inside the lines. The end product in this case: A superabundance of sound, moods, and colors by the name of Compared to That… If you like real diversity, creativity, lots of cool instrumentation using live musicians and not just computers and the like, this revved-up, ready-to-jam-right-out-of-the-package album has your name written all over it. Spectacular work from one who’s used to producing spectacular work by often spelling it in a notably different fashion.”
O’s Place Jazz Magazine – “This is a high energy set featuring the versatile bassist Brian Bromberg with an all-star lineup to die for…Bromberg makes a splash leading melodies, anchoring the beats, and injecting doses of funk into all of the right spots… There are also fusion, swing and bluesy bop tunes making this a diverse set. The common theme is energy and that is Bromberg!”
Smooth Jazz Magazine – “For his 20th outing, the Bass Master himself, Brian Bromberg steps out swinging on this 10-piece ensemble cast of musicians, with a full orchestra and a string section that is second to none…even though he leans toward more acoustic jazz, he does not allow himself to be defined in this way. His vision takes you on a ride through contemporary jazz, deep down soul and let’s not leave out his artistry of beautiful ballads. He is as diversified in his musical styles as is an artist with the different colors on their palette. This is what sets Bromberg apart from others in his field.”
Buffalo News – “Chicago’s ‘Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?’ begins with a shuffle beat and, as do many other tunes, has solo statements by Bromberg playing piccolo bass that sound like a very hip guitarist imitating Wes Montgomery. Bromberg’s friends make it, if not an all-star band, one that comes awfully close: Randy Brecker, Bela Fleck, Larry Goldings, Mitch Forman, George Duke and Vinnie Colaiuta. For what it is, close to irresistible.”
Critical Jazz – “The thing that makes Brian Bromberg work so well is the predictability of his unpredictability!…Compared To That is that musical happy place somewhere between contemporary/modern jazz but with an old school sensibility…What Brian Bromberg does so incredibly well here is expand his sound and push the music forward.”
Smooth Jazz Daily – “Brian Bromberg is one of the top five bassists worldwide… With Compared to That, Bromberg succeeds in recording an evenhanded mixture of pop and jazz that will actually excite jazz purists.”