The Brecker Brothers
Over the last three decades. Randy and Michael Brecker have carved out an indelible niche in the world of music. Hailed by pop and Jazz critics alike, The Brecker Brothers band they founded in 1975 was one of the first acts signed to the then-fledgling Arista Records. Recording six albums and garnering seven Grammy nominations from 1975-1982, the Brecker Brothers were a band of immeasurable influence and seminal in the birth of fusion. With Randy’s virtuosic trumpet work and sense of composition [reflected in such classics as “Some Skunk Funk”] and Mike’s burning saxophone and innovative work on the EWI, over the years the band attracted some of the finest players on the scene: Terry Bozzio, Hiram Bullock, Dennis Chambers, Steve Gadd, Don Grolnick. Steve Khan, Will Lee, Chris Parker, David Sanborn, Mike Stern, Luther Vandross, Dave Weckl, Lenny White – among others.
In constant demand as session players, the Breckers also recorded together and alone on literally hundreds of albums for a list of who’s who in pop and jazz including Lennon, Zappa, Springsteen, Corea, Metheny, Parliament Funkadelics, Steely Dan, etc. Add to all that the legendary Seventh Avenue South, a Jazz club run hy the Breckers in Manhattan from 1977-1986, a magnet for the hottest players in town. With so much activity, Michael and Randy each won the NARAS MVP award so many years in a row that they had to be retired from their respective instrumental categories.
After a hiatus of nearly a decade, the Brothers reunited in 1992 for the GRP album Return of the Brecker Brothers, which earned three Grammy nominations. After a world tour, they returned to the studio in 1994 to record Out of the Loop, which won two Grammys – for “Best Contemporary Jazz Performance”, and “Best Instrumental Composition” for Michael’s “African Skies.” On tour once more, they became the first international contemporary jazz group to perform In mainland China – including sold out shows in Beijing and Shanghai. In 1996, the Brothers turned again to their solo pursuits, each recording a new album in the process. Michael’s Tales From the Hudson won two Grammys (bringing his total to seven) for “Best Jazz lnstrumental Performance” and “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” in 1997. Randy’s Into the Sun, released in 1997, won the Grammy for “Best Contemporary Jazz Performance” in 1998.
Chuck Berg said in Jazz Times: “The Brecker Brothers Collection: Volume One (was) the seminal jazz-funk group of mid-1970’s early 1980’s. This retrospective… is a landmark which has more than stood the test of time. The music still crackles with the magnetic brand of high-energy, high tech virtuoso playing writing that characterizes the work of the Philadelphia-bred duo to this day. There are many exceptional moments. To evoke (their) brand of magic, all one had to do is mention the titles that have acquired their own totemic resonance. The kind of pivotal role played by Bird in bebop, or Miles in modal improvisation, is similar to that played by the Breckers vis a vis jazz-funk. (The album) speaks with a vitality as fresh as anything being played today.”