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THE BRECKER BROTHERS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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The Brecker Brothers biography
Randy Brecker (trumpet, fluglehorn) and Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone and electronic wind instruments), whether working together or separately, have been two of the most sought after horn players from the early 70s up until when Michael passed away in 2007. Meanwhile, Randy continues to perform to this day. Raised in the Philadelphia area, both moved to New York City at a young age to seek a career in music and ended up with Billy Cobham in the seminal jazz-rock band Dreams. From there both of them played with a wide range of artists finally deciding to team up in 1975 to form their own band, The Brecker Brothers.

The Brecker Brothers band used the hard driving horn based RnB/jazz of the JBs as a base and then added the progressive fusion tendencies of past band mates such as Billy Cobham, Larry Coryell and Frank Zappa. The end result was a fun high energy take on fusion that eschewed weighty pretensions for blistering solos and rapid fire rhythms. Although the other artists the brothers have worked with are too numerous to list, some of their best work as a traveling duo can be found on Parliament's insanely creative Mothership Connection and Billy Cobham's incendiary Shabazz. In 2007 Michael was inducted into the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame.

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THE BRECKER BROTHERS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE BRECKER BROTHERS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 3 ratings
The Brecker Brothers
1975
3.00 | 2 ratings
Back To Back
1976
2.05 | 2 ratings
Don't Stop The Music
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Detente
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Straphangin'
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Return Of The Brecker Brothers
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Out Of The Loop
1994

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 4 ratings
Heavy Metal Be-Bop
1978

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Return Of The Brecker Brothers Live
1992

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection - Volume One
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection - Volume Two
1991
4.00 | 1 ratings
East River
1997

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

THE BRECKER BROTHERS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Don't Stop The Music by BRECKER BROTHERS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.05 | 2 ratings

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Don't Stop The Music
The Brecker Brothers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Third album from the BB, and one that took unashamedly the radio-friendly route, ranging from disco, to brassy funk to everything an Arista label band had to lower themselves to. Indeed, in the late 70's, Arista became responsible for the downgrade of excellent early 70's artistes that had to keep surviving and had to resort to signing a contract with them. Very few bands came unscathed from this disastrous passage through the label, and the BB didn't make an exception. The BB band didn't seem to have a stable line-up then and among the guests, we hear Steve Kahn (guitars), Lenny White and Steve Gadd (both drums), alongside the mainstays of Grolnick, Lee and McDonald and, of course, Michael and Randy.

Right from the first ugly disco beat of the opening Finger Lickin' Good and the title track opening the flipside, one can only think of an atrociously kitschy soul-funk-disco. Along the soppy side of their spectrum, we have As Long As I've Got Your Love or the no-less cheesy instrumental Petals provide romantic mood (both filled with string arrangements), but are not completely without merits. Indeed some instrumental tracks like Funky Sea or the album-longest instrumental Squids were highly enjoyable (if you like that sort of thing), but drowned in a sea of radio-friendly brassy soul-disco-funk crap that flooded the airwaves and the nightclubs. The closing lengthy Tabula Rasa again presents a fast funk-fusion where the brothers add a slight Spanish brassy touch.

Well the present album is not as bad as I would tend to make it appear, but it is mainly plagued by those two ugly binary disco crap tune, that automatically lessen the album's appeal, but the other two string-laden tracks do not help either. Still mildly interesting, but IMHO, not really worth the detour.

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 The Brecker Brothers by BRECKER BROTHERS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.14 | 3 ratings

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The Brecker Brothers
The Brecker Brothers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Well, those reading my embarrassing blunders that serve this site as reviews, they will know that I'm a JR/F fan and enjoy most (if not all) of what came between 69 and 75. However the Brecker Brothers is definitely I band I could do without, because I've always found their ultra-technical and complex funk-fusion rather unmoving intellectually. Oh sure, their music is extremely well-made and somewhat very danceable, but it's often closer to Chic or the Pharoah/EW&F than it is to Mwandishi or early Weather Report' Different eras indeed, but that's always been my point (or Achilles' heel, if you wish). And the BB definitely belong sonically to the second half of the 70's. In the band's early line-up, we find the future sax star Sanborn, the by-now old-hand Harvey Mason on drums and Grolnick on keys.

Indeed, there are ultra-clean mothering funks on the album, like the opening Skunk Funk or the following Sponge, or Rocks and DBB on the flipside, all of them with impressive techniques and virtuosity, but that also lack soul (which is kind of weird for funk music). Is it the fault that the production is too clean, too slick? Most likely, ' mon humble opinion. Don't get me wrong, there are some delightful moments on the album, but unfortunately, there is often something that doesn't click all that well for me. Even when their 100 MPH music does slow down like in the Many-Faced Creature, the feel is rather cold and slick, instead of suave and sweaty. The album's better tracks are conga-filled Twilight

On the flipside, five relatively shorter tracks, with only the opening Sneaking Up Behind You nearing 5 minutes, and I believe this was the 'hit' back then, and also the only sung track, with somewhat average and semi-scatting but still-catchy War-like vocals, laid over some strings synth layers. The following Rocks might have been renamed Funks, because that 150 MPH muze will certainly funk up with your brains, but maybe too much for your own good. The problem is that when BB really slows down, they tend to fall asleep and they're contagious, and the Levitate more or less Gravitates, and the following soppy and sappy sung My Stars really dropped shamelessly below the ground level, leaving DBB give a honest closing to the debut album.

Well theoretically, an instrumental JR/F album from the mid-70's should still please me, and in a way, it does. But there was such an over-production of these vinyl plaques during those years, that I'm simply never in need or feel to play any of BB's albums, outside maybe once in a decade their debut (and presently reviewed) album. So if indeed one must investigate the BB, starting with the first two albums is the best (and only, IMHO) place to start, because by their third album, BB were not much more than a technically brilliant AOR (read radio-friendly) band without much interest to the demanding fusionheads.

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 Heavy Metal Be-Bop by BRECKER BROTHERS, THE album cover Live, 1978
3.05 | 4 ratings

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Heavy Metal Be-Bop
The Brecker Brothers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars This isn't the most subtle album out there, but if you are looking for a very aggressive set of rockin funk jazz played by superb instrumental technicians, this might be the one. Funk with hard rock aggression and jazz virtuosity had really become the flavor of choice for many technique laden artists in the mid 70s including Stanley Clarke, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Billy Cobham, Funkadelic, Mother's Finest and many more. There is no doubt that this style would come naturally to the Breckers as they had been guest performers on many of the albums by the previously mentioned artists.

The playing on here is superb, Randy and Micheal both play with fierce aggression and high speed dexterity. As the album title suggests, they are attempting to merge the power of metal with the demanding technique of bop. Both Breckers also utilze the technology of the day to great effect as they supplement their horns with echoplexes, wah-wah pedals and chorus units. Another plus is the technical and high speed drumming technique of Terry Bozzio.

There are a couple of tunes on here that take a shot at something a little more subtle, 'Funky Sea, Funky Dew' starts off as a ballad before heading straight to a heavy funk jam, and 'Squids' has some nice Latin touches in the verse before it too succumbs to the adrenaline fueled energy.

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 Heavy Metal Be-Bop by BRECKER BROTHERS, THE album cover Live, 1978
3.05 | 4 ratings

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Heavy Metal Be-Bop
The Brecker Brothers Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars For a time in the late nineteen seventies the Brecker Brothers were the horn section to hire for American prog. Go ahead, look at your classic prog collection, I bet they're in there.

This album was recorded and released right around the time that the brothers were playing in Frank Zappa's band (check out "Zappa In New York"). Zappa's drummer from those years, Terry Bozzio, appears in this album. And while there is little Zappa influence, there is some fine funky fusion.

East River, the only studio track on the album, starts things out. It's also the only track not written by either on the brothers. This song, by bassist Neil Jason (and others), is sort of like a more rocking Earth Wind & Wire song. It's not bad, but one of the weaker tracks on the album.

Inside Out sounds similar to the bluesy jamming that Jeff Beck was playing at the time, but with more horn solos. Some Skunk Funk is the best track on the album. This wild funk track features some of the best frenetic horn arrangements you will ever hear (I once heard an unusually talented punk band play this, it was weird, but great).

Sponge is a very simply written song, but contains some incredible solos, not just from the Breckers, but also guitarist Barry Finnerty. Funky Sea. Funky Dew is the slower song on the album, with a heavier break in the middle, and a fine sax solo at the end. Squids is another good, mid-tempo funky piece.

Be warned, there is no heavy metal on the album, even by seventies standards. Just quality funky jazz rock fusion. It's a little bit dated in sound, but still a fine album to own.

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