These three discs, each a different category of jazz, show why bassist Brian Bromberg is in demand as a session player and producer. His playing is sharp, quick and melodic, and he has a good ear for recording. He established Artistry Music earlier this year as a way to bring his work, including some early titles, to a wider audience.
Its About Time appeared in 1991 on Nova Records and features veteran players Freddie Hubbard and Ernie Watts, along with then young lions Mitchell Forman, Mike Garson, Doug Webb, and Brombergs brother David. They recorded nine straight-ahead jazz tunes live in the studio. Bromberg has remixed and remastered the original analog tapes for this reissue. The playing is lively throughout, with Hubbard, Watts, and Webb in especially fine form. Brombergs solos are lightning fast, and the mix brings the listener close to his strings as they vibrate against the fingerboard. The remastering is crisp, but could have used more space between the instruments.
Choices is a smooth-jazz disc that Bromberg originally released on another label in 2004. I usually have little patience for this kind of music, but Brombergs solos on the piccolo bass, which is tuned an octave and a fourth above the usual bass tuning, are consistently musical and swinging. I enjoyed this music in spite of myself.
Bromberg takes all the solos on Metal, his newest disc, and the sound of his piccolo bass evokes comparisons to fusion guitarists Eric Johnson and Jeff Beck. With drummer Joel Taylor accompanying him, Bromberg lays down a rock-solid foundation, and his solos are impressive examples of elegant flash. The recording is impressively vibrant.
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