We'd like to Welcome the master
Trumpeter great Randy Brecker! It would be nearly impossible to create a capsule for all that Mr. Brecker has encompassed as one of the Music Industry's most respected and sought after Musicians...
Frankly, why would we ever want to do that?
Catching Mr. Brecker on the fly this coming week for all of the OL Readers and music lovers everywhere, OL is honored to chat awhile with Mr. Randy Brecker, as we travel through his remarkable contribution to the music world, shaping the sound of Jazz,
R&B and Rock for more than four decades...
from the famed Blood, Sweat & Tears Group, to the The Brecker Brothers to Randy's endless recording credits including appearances on Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, David Sanborn tracks & so many more [it's a long list, folks, but we promise to get to Interview Randy in a moment]...
Randy's own celebrated Solo CD's include...
the Grammy Winning Best Contemporary Jazz
"Randy Brecker In Brasil" CD, the
"Some Skunk Funk" CD with his brother
Legend Saxophonist Michael Brecker,
which also won a Grammy... & more in
between, with his latest CD
"RANDY BRECKER Nostalgic Journey:
Tykocin Jazz Suite" -
The Music Of Wlodek Pawlik.
Welcome Randy, and thank you for giving us and all of the OL Site Visitors, for what will be a 7-part Interview on the
Oceanliner Notes Weekly Series, for the entire week of October 31, 2010. It's great having You here for all of our OL Viewers, once again, thank you and welcome Randy! How are You?
Doing fine and have been very busy with a variety of things, knock on wood!
Randy, you're a Philadelphia native who grew up gigging on the music scene in your hometown. Take us to that very night with the first band that You worked with?
Well, it was a long time ago, so I don't remember the very first gig, but I sat in at a private party with the great tenor and baritone saxophonist Billy Root and he started hiring me for gigs.
Also Lew Tabackin (with whom I just played with at Dizzy's in NYC last week as members of the Newport All Stars, and I played in a Youth Band together fronted by
Jimmy DePriest. Also the great unheralded alto saxophonist Clarence "C" Sharpe let me sit in with him quite frequently.
All these great musicians lived in Philly,
plus there was American Bandstand being
broadcast from downtown Philly.
Dick Clark was really a jazz fan and he
scoured South Philly for singing talent like
Frankie Avalon (Avalona) who was a good
jazz trumpet player, and went to High School
with Lew Tabackin.
Also Bobby Rydell who was a good jazz
drummer...I'd back these guys up in
Wildwood clubs down the shore in the
summer, but the root of it all was jazz...
same with Gamble and Huff later on...
You come from a very musical Family.
Your Dad was a Pianist... what was the music that your Father exposed You and your brother Michael to, and how did he influence You with his own playing approach, though different instruments?
Bebop and trumpet players like
Clifford Brown, who was playing around quite a bit in the Philly area, and Miles, Dizzy and Chet. We had a family band. Mike, who was playing clarinet, but never really took to it at the time; doubled on drums and vibes as did I. And my sister Emily played bass. We were cookin' and Dad showed us a lot of tunes.
In this wonderful musical nurturing at such an early age Randy, can you share with us,
the first time the Trumpet was introduced to You and how you felt when You first played it?
It was in the 3rd grade and I was 8.
Our small school only had trumpets or clarinets available so I grabbed the trumpet. Mike 3 years later didn't want to play the same instrument,
so he got stuck with the clarinet,
but not for long! The trumpet hurt my lips and 50 years later it still hurts my lip,
but I still love the sound of the TRUMPET
in any setting!
Here here, Randy! Yes indeed,
In any setting, we love your sound!
Your musical background is so full of many colors. All through attending
Indiana University and continuing on early in your Career, You've played with various Jazz Groups and Soul Bands,
including Booker T. and the MGs.
Tell us about your days in working with
Well, Booker or "T" as we called him, was playing trombone in the IU Jazz Band with me and getting a degree in music composition.
He decided to form a band at school so we played together on weekends for my freshman and sophomore years.
It was a great way to learn the soul repertoire, much of which I already knew from playing in blues bands in Philly, plus I could drive around campus with him in his large white Caddy convertible!
Randy, in our special time with You this week, we'd like to cover as much as we can on the ever-shining highlights of your Career.
So tell us about your joining the classic Jazz-Rock Band Blood, Sweat & Tears on the,
"Child is Father to the Man" debut Album during the rock-edged 60's, and working with the other band members?
Well, it was an eye opening experience.
Instead of small jazz clubs we were playing at
concert halls like the Fillmore West double-
billing with bands like
Steve Winwood and Traffic, or Cream,
or even Elton John's first US date
Learned a lot from recording the album as far as how to produce rock records. The other core band members were very experienced musicians and businessmen and they knew how to take it to the next level. Many of us still stay in touch. I really dig those guys.
Over the years and looking back, what would be one of your favorite
Blood, Sweat & Tears songs?
'I Can't Quit Her' by Al Kooper.
As a BS&T Band Member, that was about the time when You first moved to New York City. Tell us Randy, about the first gig that You landed when arriving on the New York
The first steady gigs were with a soul band called the Soul Seachers or something.
We played 5 sets a day/night at the Metropole for go-go girls. Then Clark Terry, Mel Lewis and Duke Pearson called,
so I started working in their big bands.
Then Blood Sweat & Tears,
then Horace Silver.
Was doing a lot of sitting in and jam sessions
so word got around..it was a smaller scene
back then..before Jazz Ed. There were also
many rehearsal bands where one got to know
other players. I was doing something musical
every day. Larry Coryell and the
Free Spirits, Dave Liebman, Lenny White,
I could go on and on... Jan Hammer,
Gene Perla, as soon as I think of a memory,
another one pops up, it was an extraordinary
time. Then you could go hear Miles,
and Trane, and Sonny, Bill Evans...
matinees at the Vanguard. Exciting!
Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson,
Stanley Turrentine, Art Blakey...
on and on...
Having also worked with the
Clark Terry Big Band,
the Thad Jones/
Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra,
and the Duke Pearson Big Band...
to name a few...
this added yet another dimension
to your Career,
with the best of both worlds Rock and Jazz...
showing your great range as a Musician.
What do You like best Randy, about playing
your Trumpet in various musical styles?
I love musical variety as long as the bands are first rate, and it keeps my overall playing fresh and exciting.
Thank you very much Randy, for coming on as our Special Guest Artist. Is there any music commentary you'd like to share with the viewers, in concluding this OL Interview
1 of 7 segment?
As Peter Wolf of the J Geils Band used to say onstage:
"Buy the Records Baby!"
Thank You much Randy, we'll ditto that!
We look forward tomorrow in Part 2 of this 7 of the Oceanliner Notes Weekly Series, where we get to cover Trumpeter Great Randy Brecker's NOSTALGIC JOURNEY CD & more! And thank you all for visiting OL's Oceanliner Notes Weekly!