Lion City Youth Jazz Festival 2018 Workshop Series: Randy Brecker - A Life In Music
25 May 2018, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
The Lion City Youth Jazz Festival is an annual
youth-musician-focused learning and immersion programme, comprising 6 days of
intensive rehearsals, workshops and a final concert on the last day, under the
guidance of international jazz legends and prominent professional jazz
musicians. This year’s workshop series will feature 5-time Grammy award-winning
Trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker from the United States; Bassist and
composer Jay Anderson (US); Lewis Nash (US-Drums); Antonio Hart (US-Saxophone);
Tom Walsh (Trumpet-UK).
Jazz trumpeter and composer Randy
Brecker has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four
decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums
by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/Funkadelic
to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa.
Born in 1945 in Philadelphia to a
musical family, Randy's musical talent was nurtured from an early age. He
attended Indiana University from 1963-66 studying with Bill Adam, David Baker
and Jerry Coker and later moved to New York where he landed gigs with such
prominent bands as Clark Terry's Big Bad Band, the Duke Pearson Big Band and
the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.
In 1967, Randy ventured into
jazz-rock with the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, but left to join the Horace
Silver Quintet. He recorded his first solo album, 'Score', in 1968, featuring a
young, then unknown 19 year-old tenor saxophonist named Michael Brecker.
After Horace Silver, Randy joined
Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers before teaming up with brother Michael, Barry
Rogers, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie to form the seminal fusion group
'Dreams'. The group recorded two adventurous and wildly acclaimed albums:
'Dreams' and 'Imagine My Surprise' - now collector's items - for Columbia
Records before they disbanded in 1971.
In the early 1970s, Randy
performed live with many prominent artists including Larry Coryell’s Eleventh
House, Stevie Wonder and Billy Cobham. He also recorded several classic albums
with his brother under the leadership of the great pianist/composer Hal Galper.
By 1975, Randy and Michael were
ready to front their own group, the Brecker Brothers Band. A band of
immeasurable impact and influence, they released six albums on Arista and
garnered seven Grammy nominations between 1975 and 1981. Their eponymous first
record, which Randy wrote, arranged and produced, featured his now classic
composition “Some Skunk Funk.”
In 1992, exactly ten years after
they parted ways to pursue solo careers, Randy and Michael reunited for a world
tour and the triple-Grammy nominated GRP recording, 'The Return of the Brecker
Brothers'. The follow-up, 1994’s ‘Out of the Loop,’ was a double- Grammy
In 1997, ‘Into the Sun’
(Concord), a recording featuring Randy’s impressions of Brazil, garnered Randy
his first Grammy as a solo artist.
In 2001, Randy released ‘Hangin’
in the City’ (ESC), a solo project which introduced his alter-ego Randroid, a
skirt chasing, cab driving ne’er do well, with lyrics and vocals by Randroid
himself. This CD was especially well received in Europe, where Randy toured
extensively with his own line-up.
Randy’s next CD for ESC Records,
'34th n' Lex,’ won him his third Grammy for 'Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ in
2003. In May of that year he toured Europe with his Quintet in support of the
CD, and in the summer went back to Europe yet again with the Randy Brecker/
Bill Evans Soulbop Band.
The summer of 2003 culminated in
the special headline appearance in Japan at the Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival of the
reunited Brecker Brothers.
2004 saw Randy touring Europe extensively as co-leader (with Bill Evans) of the
band Soulbop. The WDR Big Band also celebrated Randy and his music that year in
a performance at the Leverkusen Jazz Fest. The date was of special significance
to Randy as it was the last time he played with his brother, who took ill
shortly thereafter with a rare form of leukemia known as MDS.
In 2005, with Mike unable to
travel to Russia for Brecker Brothers gigs booked there, Randy’s wife Ada sat
in for the first time. Randy’s active schedule continued apace with the Randy Brecker
Band performing throughout Eastern Europe and across the globe.
In 2007, Randy was awarded his
fourth Grammy for "Randy Brecker Live with the WDR Big Band” (Telarc/BHM),
the live recording (also available in DVD format) of his performance with
Michael at the Leverkusen Jazz Fest in 2004. Tragically, Michael passed away
that same year on Jan 13th.
2007 also saw the release of a 2
CD set of live recordings of the band ‘Soulbop’ (BHM) featuring Dave Kikoski,
Victor Bailey, Steve Smith or Rodney Holmes and the late great Hiram Bullock.
Randy returned to his long-time
love of Brazilian music in 2008 for the album 'Randy in Brazil,' which was
recorded in Sao Paulo with a full complement of great Brazilian musicians and
released on Summit Records. Chosen one of the top 10 CDs of 2008 by
AllAboutJazz.com, the CD won the Grammy for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album,”
bringing his Grammy total to five.
A “Tribute to the Brecker
Brothers” featuring Randy and recorded live at the Hamamatsu Jazz Festival in
Japan with Yoichi Murata’s Solid Brass & Big Band was released by JVC
Victor in Japan in late 2008.
And in 2009, Randy’s roots were
celebrated with the release of ‘Jazz Suite Tykocin,’ a project initiated and
conceived by the Polish pianist and composer Wlodek Pawlik, featuring Randy as
a soloist with members of the Bialystok Philharmonic. Tykocin is the
area in Poland where Randy’s
ancestors (mother’s maiden name: Tecosky) hail from, a fact that Pawlik
discovered while helping to search for a bone marrow donor for Michael. 2011
saw the release of ‘The Jazz Ballad Song Book: Randy Brecker with the Danish
Radio Big Band and The Danish National Chamber Orchestra,’ which garnered 4
Grammy nominations and enjoyed enthusiastic critical acclaim. And in 2012, Sony
Legacy recaptured history with the long-awaited boxed set, “The Brecker
Brothers – The Complete Arista Albums Collection.”
A Brecker Brothers Band Reunion
tour of European festivals in the summer of 2013 in support of Randy’s newest
project, Randy Brecker’s Brecker Brothers Band Reunion, re-introduced
the familiar faces of Brecker Brothers Band members from the past and their
special brand of music to sell-out crowds.
A dual-disc release, Randy’s
newest project will be released on September 25th, 2013 on Piloo Records. Randy
Brecker’s Brecker Brothers Band Reunion features a live DVD recorded at the
Blue Note in NYC bundled with a new 11-song studio recording featuring members
of the Brecker Brothers bands from throughout the years including Dave Sanborn,
Mike Stern, Will Lee, and Dave Weckl. George Whitty is back in the production
and keyboard chair, and Randy’s Italian wife Ada Rovatti is in the ‘hot
saxophone’ seat, keeping it in the family on tenor and soprano saxophone. The
new dual-disc recording will be released in North America by Magenta/E-One, in
Europe by Moosicus Records in November and in Japan by JVC/Victor.
A long time in the making, this
project is very close to Randy Brecker’s heart. It is dedicated to his brother,
Michael, and other departed Brecker Brothers Band members.
As a composer, performer and
in-demand Yamaha clinician, Randy Brecker continues to influence and inspire
young musicians around the world.
LaSalle College of the Arts, G302
1 McNally Street