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The Brecker Brothers - Heavy Metal Be-Bop CD (album) cover

HEAVY METAL BE-BOP

The Brecker Brothers

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury 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.

Report this review (#330902)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#412563)
Posted Monday, March 7, 2011 | Review Permalink

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