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Band: The Bottom Line Archive (The Brecker Brothers Live)
By Cyrus Rhodes - 03/18/2015 - 03:10 PM EDT

Artist: The Brecker Brothers
Album: The Bottom Line Archive (The Brecker Brothers Live)
Label: The Bottom Line Record Company
Genre: Free Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Experimental, Avant-Garde
Sounds Like: Grover Washington Jr, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea Electric Band Steve Smith and Vital Information, The
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 6/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Cactus, Night Flight, Keep It Steady (The Brecker Bump), Sneakin'Up Behind You
Weakness: None
CD Review: Why is this. the first and only official live release by The Brecker Brothers Band, you ask? Perhaps surprisingly, it documents a group that rarely played live, much less toured extensively. This is due in part to a 1970 s music world with the constraints of a vital studio scene, wherein virtuoso musicians were kept busy tracking for television, movies, commercials, and all styles of solo spots and horn sections - regardless of musical style. We were making a living in the recording studios, recalls Brecker. The clubs paid next to nothing, as did 'opening act' gigs. Clive Davis was always begging us to go out on the road, but we weren't going to blow the studio work. Without a doubt, loud & proud describes this first Brecker Brothers Band in action. The group is put into 4-wheel drive by the sleekly-grooving, well-oiled machine that is the nimble rhythm team of Will Lee, Chris Parker and Sammy Figueroa. They constantly supply the connective tissue and hold down an undeniable and indelible groove. Keyboardist Grolnick s electric piano solos are oh-so-elegant, and he delivers the necessary clavinet funk. Guitarist Steve Khan steps up as yet another of the band s dynamic soloists, and he makes sure to bring the rock when the rock is required. The resultant blend of mayhem and form, abandon and razor-sharp execution, makes for an unparalleled meeting of clan-collective minds. This vintage Live recording was recorded at the legendary New York based The Bottom Line on March 6, 1976.
Live band line up: Randy Becker (Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Electronics and Vocals), Michael Brecker (Tenor Saxophone, Electronics and vocals), David Sanborn (Alto Saxophone (Tracks 5,9,10),Don Grolnick (Fender Rhodes, Organ, Clavinet & Vocals), Steve Khan (Guitar & Vocals), Will Lee (Bass &Lead Vocals), Sammy Figuero (Percussion & Vocals), and Chris Parker (Drums).

The CD kicks things off right with ”Rocks” an upbeat horn driven intro piece that serves up classic Fusions tic-Funk-Rock vibe with slamming solos, dynamic rhythm section, well placed percussion and infectious musical feel from The Brecker Brothers and company. Track 2 “Jungle walk” keeps it flowing with its funked out musical groove, warm and melodic musical overtones that showcase The Brecker Brothers as a premier live band. Track 3 keeps it real with “Cactus” an impressive melody with slamming guitar served up hot against impassioned, methodical musical feel from this moving grooving unit that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. This CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 solid tracks in arrow. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Grover Washington Jr., Billy Cobham, Chick Corea’s Electric Band, Steve Smith and Vital Information, Dave Weckl, Tom Scott, David Sanborn, The Average White Band, Victor Bailey, Frank Gamballe just to name a few. The music itself is an amazing blend of Fusion, Rock, Classic Rock, Rock n’ Soul. Funk, Jazz R&B, Jam Band. This CD will remind you just how amazing some of the music of the 70 really were, and how far we’ve slid down musically over the last 30 years. Make no bones about it, The Brecker Brothers bring some impressive talents to the table. They are great musicians within their own right and have a very appealing musical delivery – especially live. You will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere, from impressive solo guitar licks, well placed harmonies, Organ, keyboards, impressive solo guitar, sporadic percussion and thick as a brick rhythm section. The horn playing is off the charts and make no bones about it – these cats could play. The most impressive thing about this CD is the amazing musical syncopation, songwriting prowess and infectious charm from this band. All musical touches are brilliant and extremely melodic, the drummer (Chris Parker) pushes the natural accents perfectly and the silky rhythm section clearly gives this production a solid backbone. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. "The Brecker Brothers” The Bottom Line  Archive live performance delivers 11 classic tracks all providing infectious music soothing to the mind, body and soul. All pieces are extremely positive. All engineering aspects check out. CD possesses thick low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. Some of this music goes beyond Funk and R&B – some pieces borders High-end Jazz. The overall feel of this amazing live collection truly personify the "love" human condition – mostly carefree subject matter that is highly entertaining. Much of this is recording provides an exciting snapshot of music back in the 70’s  At the end of the day this vintage live performance by The Brecker Brothers work extremely well in this live setting songs for song and track to track. It almost sounds as if they are somewhat overqualified for this lackluster audience. Sound quality extremely good for a live CD, this is tight live band. I especially like the extended play Jam band format of Tracks 3 and 6 with musicianship that will make literally your head spin. From slamming “Night Flight” and “If You Want to Boogie Forget It” to grooving “Keep It Steady (The Brecker Bump)” to smooth as silk ”A Creature of Many Faces” this live CD has something for just about everyone. The Playing skills of David Sanborn is really showcased on Track 9 “It Took a Long Time.” The CD ends with Track 10 “Sneakin’ up Behind You” and Track 11: an alternative take on “Night Flight” the prefect finale statements for a CD of this caliber.
Live recordings are amazing because they capture the full tilt energy and spontaneity of a live setting. There have been some classic live records released over the years because of this very reason. The song that best captures the slam dunk live feel best is "I Don't Know." Like I ha d mentioned - it almost feels as if The Brecker Brothers are a bit overqualified for this somewhat lackluster and dull audience.
From start to finish The Bottom Line Archive “The Brecker Brothers” (live recording) pulls out all the stops and is a barn burner of a release. The music is consistent, uplifting, and extremely entertaining. More importantly it captures everything you would want from a vintage live performance on the 70’s, Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of this amazing band led by The Brecker Brothers is rock solid. The lyrics are catchy, the melodies are well crafted and hooky and the musical charisma of these two is of rock legend. It’s no wonder why acts like The Brecker Brothers made such a huge upon music impact 30+ years ago.

Cyrus Rhodes

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